The 9 months leading up to the summer are very much like training. You are preparing your body, mind and spirit for what lies ahead in the summer. You are sometimes seeking the counsel of those who "coach" you in that preparation. You tend to be one big mixed up ball of emotions of greater excitement with just a little apprehension mixed in as the days draw closer for you to pack up and leave for 3 months. Training week is like that one last push right before the race begins and suddenly before you even realize it, the first registration day is there and you are off!
Week one you are usually ready to go...after all, this is what you have spent the last 9 months of your life preparing for right? But you are also trying to pace yourself, as you know you still have many weeks ahead of you. For me this summer, about week 3 I started to hit that point where it began to hurt a little. When you think to yourself...oh no...this is not good...especially when I have so much left ahead of me. You have to find your "rhythm" in a way...or "get your camp legs under you." And you keep running...and running...and running. For me, Week 5 I hit the wall. A little early you would think since it was just at halfway through our summer. It was difficult, I was tired, and it was a moment, where I admit that the thought of the finish line was what was keeping me going. And then, we came to week 6 and I think I hit a bit of a the "high" that runners talk about that follows running "through the wall." It's been a great week, one where I feel like I am finally really hitting a stride. I know there will still be moments when it "hurts," when I feel like I have nothing left, but it is remembering why I am am here that keeps me going. That and all those who come along to "cheer me on."
Yes...just like in a race, I have experienced turning that corner when I just don't know if I can go any farther, and then something happens that spurs you on. For me this summer, it was found in a visit from my Dad at Wake Forest, and in unexpected visit with a best friend in Indiana, in a brief hug at a gas station from my mom, in a dinner with a best friend in Texas, in a youth minister's prayer in a meeting, in a pint of chubby hubby ice cream from my SE, in an unexpected nap on reg day, in a moment when a student "gets it," and in moments and times when Brad & I are able to have "date time" to spend with one another and recharge. I am so thankful for each of these moments that have truly spurred me on as I am running this race.
The other good news about the race of camp is that you aren't running it alone. First, I take comfort and find direction in knowing that this is exactly where I am called to be by God. This is what keeps me pushing forth even when it gets difficult. I am also running this race with my husband and 24 other wonderful teammates that I am especially grateful for. It wouldn't be nearly as much fun without them. I also wouldn't be able to do it without them. I am thankful that we have been called to serve alongside each other during this season in life.
Finally, it is bittersweet for me to think about the fact that as this summer closes, so is my journey and "race" of camp. There is the sweetness of the joy you feel when you feel as if you run and you run well. The feeling you have as you strive to serve God in the best way you know how in the place He has you. There is also the bitterness that is felt when it is over. While you know there will be some amount of relief that sweeps over you, it will be sad I think, when the reality hits me that it might be the last race I am running here as God is calling to a new chapter and journey in life.
My hope and prayer is that I would run and finish well. That I would not save anything for myself, but that I would leave it all in the race. So now, as Week 6 is closing, I feel a bit as if I am running the final legs. This is the time that I know that the strength I find is not my own, but it is from my Father who loves me and carries me and gives me joy in the journey. I want to make the most of this time that remains. For now...I'll just keep running.
"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider I have made it my own. But one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 3: 12-14