There are moments that stick. Memories that remain adhered to the heart years later, like the curling photos that cover the front of our fridge and the Elementary artwork that adorns my boys’ bedroom door. I want to paint a camp moment for you today. One of my husband’s favorites. The wheelchair hike.
Ryan only came to camp one time. It was his freshman year in High School and his folks and big brother conspired together to make a week of outdoor adventure possible. Ryan has Muscular Dystrophy which confines him to a wheelchair.
Wheelchairs are not the most user-friendly means of getting around the bumpy grass meadows, narrow dirt paths, and steep mountain roads around camp. But with his brother and dad there to help Ryan navigated a week of camp with aplomb. They even managed to zip him up to Inspiration Point with the other campers in a large three wheeled jogger, but later in the week the group wanted to go off road.
This was the moment that stuck with Scruffy and Frodo and the speaker that week, and through their words it has stayed with me as well.
Frodo and Abu, Ryan’s Dad and Scruff, these men determined to get Ryan to the end of the hike, without a road or even a trail. I talked to Ryan about that day and he remembered how the guys had to lift the jogger over logs while pushing him up the steep incline to the top. He told me about the hot sun beating down on them and the branches slapping back toward his face as they pressed on.
“I was just amazed and grateful to have these guys helping and working so hard to get me all the way up to the top.”
For Ryan it was an amazing hike that he participated in with his pears. For Scruffy it is an image he holds onto of God’s children at their best. One of those times when Christ steps down among us and we open our arms to His love and His ways and are never thereafter the same.
That’s the thing about Camp and about life as well. Sometimes it’s not just a hike. Sometimes it’s a moment. Sometimes it’s Him, right there with us, you just have to recognize the miracle around you and obey.