first year at children’s camp

It was her first year at children’s camp,
and she threw herself whole-heartedly into the experience.
Long having anticipated this experience
(having watched her older sister go
the last two years without her
and return with all those wonderful stories to tell),
she didn’t want to miss a thing!

She reveled in the ride to camp in the van with the other girls.
She reveled in the accommodations—the bunk beds in the cabins.
She reveled in the camp food and the soda fountain.
She reveled in the later-than-her-usual-bed-time lights-out.
She reveled in her Bible study group—
skipping down the center aisle that first night
to meet Alice, her group leader.
She reveled in recreation and her rotations.
She reveled in the loud, upbeat morning celebration,
and in the various components of evening worship.
She reveled in free time—mainly at the pool.
She reveled in walking up and down the mountain—
from here to there and this to that.

She resented having to shower and go to the bathroom—
to go wash hands and brush teeth,
for fear she would miss a thing.
And as her eyes grew heavy
and she grew wearier,
we saw her will herself awake.

It was pure joy to watch.

Her older sister also saw.
And initially,
perhaps subconsciously,
reached the decision
that if her younger sister thought this was all so cool,
it obviously couldn’t be!
And she dialed her own enthusiasm back a couple of notches,
saying next year, when she would be able to choose
whether to go to children’s camp or youth camp,
she would go to youth camp.

By the end of our time at camp though, she came round,
and now anticipates a final celebratory year of children’s camp
next summer.

And I don’t know of how much of this
she was and is aware,

but I do pray she learns to value enthusiasm
and not discount it,
and to never undermine it—
rather to cherish it wherever it’s found—
to enjoy it—sustain it—
in others as in self.

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