When I was little, I wasn’t the best behaved kid.
Life at home was kind of chaotic, and it rolled over into my everyday life.
I wrote a little about it here. Also that blog post is almost 4 years old… weird.
Anyway, I just wasn’t the greatest kid and a lot of my memories of misbehavior are set at Camp Arnold. Lots of bedwetting, disobedience, cussing people out in chapel (but then I went to the altar, don’t worry) and telling off staff members. Oh. I also lied and told everyone Jonathan Taylor Thomas was my cousin to make friends. and one summer I packed a trench coat and sat outside with a notepad and a spy kit and definitely pretended I was Harriette the Spy. Which is probably why I had to lie to make friends, just saying.
Two weeks ago I went for a walk down the road towards the back gate at camp. I started thinking about the many times I’ve walked that road – once as a counselor with a really difficult cabin full of girls that always said “boom boom” and “konnichiwa Miss Stephanay.” Once as a program staff member late at night shuttling sick campers and staff as a norovirus swept through camp. Another time as a counselor, taking my cabins to what is now the old challenge course once a week for team building. And way back, as a 10-year-old girl after the music camp final concert, walking the trail around the main part of camp with my dad.
I looked up, towards God. But then I saw the trees.
At Latourell Falls, Adriana and I pondered all of the conversations the trees there had heard.
and walking the road out towards the back gate, I saw the trees and realized that many of the greatest times of my life had been lived out beneath those trees.
Beneath those trees, I’ve poured my heart out to the Lord – in moments of extreme hope and deep despair.
Those trees have seen me broken and healed, confused and comforted, alone and with large groups of friends. I’ve been a coward and also very brave underneath those trees.
Basically, the trees of Camp Arnold have watched me grow up. They have been some of the most consistent figures in my life, and it’s crazy that I never really considered that. They’re just always there. Sometimes they fall because of ice storms and that is heartbreaking, but up until that moment I’d never stopped to really consider them as lifelong friends.
The best part of that moment was the anticipation of what else those trees will see in me. Next summer my walks down that road could be full of radically different prayers than the ones I’ve prayed this summer. There are names I will surrender to the Lord that I’ve never yet caught wind of, babies to pray for that have yet to be conceived…
and I am so grateful that no matter where life takes me – whether I am traveling up and down the west coast for a school year or relocating to SoCal for a bit, whether I am a nanny or a youth pastor or wherever else I could be + whatever else I could do – I will always have a home beneath these trees, even if only for an afternoon.