To my Royal Family,
I put off writing this as long as I could, mainly because I didn’t want to start crying.
So, obviously writing this on an airplane is something that sounded right.
I’ve been closing my week of royal family out for the last 4-5 years or so with a letter to you, those whose I do the thing with and it’s become one of my favorite writing pieces that I work on.
I learn something, as we all do, every year at camp.
Day in and day out for the better part of the last 11 years I’ve taken care of tiny humans. Even amidst my travels abroad and the times in between, I’ve found myself filling in at my old preschool, teaching English, babysitting and volunteering at VBS.
I don’t seem to find kids; they seem to find me.
The job that I’ve held for the last two years has been the most exhausting to date. It pulls out of parts of me that have been hard to refill. It’s thrown my life more out of balance than anything I’ve every encountered.
It’s been hard.
And for reasons, some still out of my grasp, I belong there. The people make my heart soar and I’ve adored the families I’ve been privileged to walk alongside of for the last two years.
But, as per usual, camp did something. It reminded me of things I think I’ve tried to bury and shove to the side.
I was pretty busy this week at camp. Moving from an Afro and sequins, to khaki pants and a field guide, to a swimsuit and back again.
I was exhausted.
BUT I wasn’t weary.
These kids get me every year.
It’s in the moment where they comprehend they get birthday presents, or the moment where they hold the slimy sea creatures, or pass the swim test.
It’s in the moment where they understand they are allowed to be a kid.
And especially in the moment that they realize that we believe for their futures.
Getting to find ways to tell each kiddo that they were meant for more, for greater, that they are allowed to dream.
That gets me.
That got me.
This year, albeit exhausting, I was able to grab some of that for myself.
I had forgotten or maybe even chosen to push aside the fact that I am meant for more.
I think I’ve had so many unsuccessful feeling days over the last year that I’ve lost that fact that I’m good at what I do.
Camp grants us a week to allow the gifts and talents and abilities inside of ourselves to be used to the fullest potential possible.
We don’t hold back at camp.
This week I was reminded of a few things: I have the ability to find joy in what I do, I miss telling kids about Jesus and lastly, that I shouldn’t hold back, ever.
The Sunday after camp I went to NMC, a place that has become my home church in California and Pastor Jordan talked about how Jesus delegates his ministry to the disciples. He used a passage from Mark that always hits me in the eyes:
“He went up in the hillside and called those whom He himself wanted and chose; and they came to Him” (mark 3:13)
I remember when I first heard that verse. It’s an action verse. There is nothing passive in picking up and following Christ. There is nothing passive in choosing to pick up and step into the things that God has given us to use.
This weekend it reminded me that all the things I use at camp, all the acting, all the leadership, all the yelling and all the love I delve into at camp is with me the other 51 weeks of the year.
And my amazing, breathtakingly awesome royal family: they are all in you too.
So in a month or two, when the thrill of camp is gone, or when you are back in your job, or feel as if you have nothing to give, please remember that camp is always in you.
The love you have to give. The gifts you bring to the table. The silliness to get you through. It’s all in you, each and every day.
You guys inspire me. With you are, what you have and what you bring.
It’s always with you.
It’s not about taking the joy of Christmas with you all year, it’s about taking the joy of camp with you.
I cannot wait until we can physically do the thing again together, but I know in spirit, spread out from there to here and here to there, we can choose, daily, to bring what we have to camp, to the people in our lives daily.
I love you all so much.
Dr. Pembroke, Junapera, Coach Sox, Meghan,