Athena is a tough, fun, capable girl counselor. My boys love her because this girl knows how to wrestle. She picks them up and slings them around and isn’t the least bit ill-at-ease when three fierce little boys see her from across the room, grab up Nerf weapons, and run toward her screaming their battle cries. Most of my conversations with Athena have been quick exchanges in her classic gruff but loveable style.
But I had the rare opportunity to talk with her in depth at the Summer Staff Winter Retreat. I love it when you get a glimpse into someone’s heart and I was not disappointed with my peek at the thoughtful girl who lies beneath Athena’s fierce exterior.
Athena graduated last summer, served at camp, and moved out of state where she is working hard toward achieving a lifelong dream of becoming a horse trainer. I asked her how her new job was going. She sighed. “I’m beginning to see that the little things matter. In Pennsylvania I can’t see the stars. When I came back to Washington for Christmas I discovered that I don’t really belong here anymore. But then when I came up to camp, I realized that this was it, I had come home.”
I knew that Athena was a good counselor, a fun individual, and superb at roughhousing. But I didn’t realize what Camas had become to her. I didn’t realize that it was her home.
When Scruffy and I were called to camp we had an idea of what working at this ministry entailed. But God’s call is so amazing, it is more and less complicated then you think. It is many different things. It is my husband over in the kitchen doing dishes this weekend because we don’t have enough dishwashers. It is sitting with a lonely child in the meadow during summer camps. It is telling someone of God and the glories He has brought to your own messed up life. It is wrestling with the Director’s kids when their mom needs to run and grab them a change of clothes. It is loving the people that show up, whether they are campers or counselors, speakers or nurses or kitchen staff. And sometimes it is providing a place. A place that is safe, where you know that you will be loved, somewhere to come home to after you grow up and have moved away.