I can’t believe it’s already over… the most important summer of my life. That doesn’t mean the best summer (that would have been summer 2016) and it sure doesn’t mean my easiest. Working as a camp counselor is HARD. I was pushed in ways that I didn’t think possible. I learned things I didn’t think I needed to know. This is my transformation: at the beginning of the summer I clogged my friend’s toilet in his own house… but now I can plunge toilets like a boss.
(For this post, I will be quoting the strange things counselors and campers said over the last three months. It’ll be great.)
“Getting out of a two door car is like being born” – Counselor
I am now going to put every bad thing that happened this summer in a paragraph.
-I got sick three times this summer, two colds and a respiratory infection.
– I pulled a muscle coughing so hard from this infection.
-My shoes caught on fire once.
-During training week, a tractor ran into a canoe and then that canoe ran into both my shins giving me a wonderful scar up my right leg.
Counselor: Back in my day we had VCR.
Camper: Is that like virtual reality?
-I was stepped on by a horse as I was helping a one legged girl mount said horse. Now my big toenail is mostly black.
– I burned my finger and lost feeling in part of it for a week or two. This happened in the middle of teaching children how to build paracord bracelets and I couldn’t let them know just how much pain I was in. I walked over to the freezer and taught the rest of the activity holding a tub of ice cream.
– another counselor likes to sneak up behind me and yell “potato” in my ear. One time I screamed and hit him with my hydroflask on accident.
– my glasses broke when a soaking wet child tackled me.
Good things that happened:
I got to share the gospel ALL SUMMER LONG.
Camper: You look fourteen!
Counselor: I have a beard!
Now, in any good Shonen, there is a lot of trouble for the main character. Usually more trouble then in any other genera. What keeps people watching is how the protagonist struggles through these hardships. Sometimes it’s in a funny way or more of a serious way. I like to contrast the way Ichigo handles frustrations (with an annoyed face) vs. how Naruto runs at problems with full force screaming and smiling. If my summer was an anime, then God was the only one who watched the whole season. Often I would pray through a problem and God would whisper to me, “I see you.”
This wasn’t a promise that everything would be fixed quickly and easily, (what’s the fun in that?) but it was God telling me that he was there and he cared about the things I cared about. Absolutely God helped me through SO MANY THINGS, but part of the learning process for me this summer, and any anime protagonist is figuring out the problem for myself.
“When Jesus spoke about the lame, he was talking about YOU!”
While this summer felt like a constant battle with most of the things around me (physical, spiritual, mental, social) there was a beautiful amount of healing that really needed the whole summer to see. I remember a couple days before I had to make the final decision to do camp or not in May. I asked God to give me a sign because I didn’t know if I would be strong enough to do it! I was hecka emotional at that time because I had just broken up with my boyfriend like two days before. I went down to eat at the dining hall two hours after I prayed for a sign. I took a couple bites of my food and then I looked up. I realized that all of a sudden, my depression had completely left me. It literally felt like a broken leg being healed in an instant. I physically felt the chemicals and pathways in my brain heal in a snap. That was the sign, and I told everyone that I was going to be a camp counselor this summer.
Camper playing arena games:
“Can we play again? I haven’t gotten dirt in my underwear yet.”
Being healed of my depression was not the end of my mental heath struggles however. I was still a mess, but over the 15 weeks of summer camp, God healed me of almost every single mental health issue I have. Guys… God healed me… I don’t even know what to do or say but praise him and try and work harder in ministry now that I can!
Pterry: “If you could be anything you wanted when you grow up what would it be?”
Camper: (face is completely stoic and in low creepy tone) “I want to take over the world…”
My favorite thing to see in an anime is a character who is sick or injured and keeps pushing through even when everyone tells him to calm down. Characters like Rock Lee. Rock Lee is basically my summer. You actually learn so much more during a struggle then you do when you are well. This summer, the staff has been focusing on what it means to take delight in the struggles. All that James stuff.
2 “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4
I have also learned the new meaning of Christian fishbowl. I have a good friend, both of us fresh out of a relationship when the summer started. On Sunday nights we hung out and watched Avatar together. It was lit. But since we were both of the opposite gender, er’buddy thinks were secretly dating. Like, I can’t hang out with a guy unless he’s my soul mate.
Staff 1: “there’s a lot of interesting and complex individuals in this fishbowl…”
Staff 2: “Indeed!!”
Camper holds up heart-shaped pickle:
“Fawn, I pickle you.”
Looks at boy:
“I half pickle you. Like a friend. Don’t make this awkward.”
This taught me the importance of having healthy opposite sex friendships and knowing the right time and place to ignore people when they are saying stupid things. The whole “secretly dating” thing kind of got really out of control in my mind so I ran away to California for a week to visit my old roommate. Girls, don’t let a fishbowl stop you from having a friendship with a guy, and don’t let it be the only reason you start dating a guy. I am proud to say that I survived the summer confident that I have not found my soul mate. I made it out alive….God really put it on my heart to stay single for as long as I can and do ministry in the ways he’s called me to. He kind of said it all in one word too…
What did Rock Lee do right after we was healed of his injury?
He got drunk.
Child 1 “what anime does Michael Jackson watch?
Child 2 “Naruto”
Well, that’s not exactly my point. Actually, that’s not my point at all. He RAN. His friends were in trouble and he raced to help them. My deepest wish right now is to reach people with God’s love and help my friends.
Counselor: “Are you sassing me?”
Camper: “Looks like it.”
I feel like this summer for me was like Naruto going to train with Jiraiya for that time in between Naruto and Naruto Shippuden. No one really knows what went on during that time, but man, was there growth! Now I am back for another year of college, ministry, and hopefully I get that job as a gymnastic coach, and I will kick Saten’s butt, I mean, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.