Last summer after depositing my oldest son on a college campus for a week-long camp, my youngest child who inspired this blog asked me, “When will I go away to camp?”
My reply was “we’ll see,” all the while on the inside I’m thinking to myself ain’t now waaaayy that’s happening.
Well, it happened.
That’s what I get for thinking in absolutes. God always has other plans.
Lan spent this weekend on his favorite college campus. Camp Sunshine is open for kids who may not be able to attend other camps. I had my reservations, or rather fears, that kept trying to creep into my mind. However, we are trying to foster more independence in Lan and he was more than eager to head off on his own!
For once, he wasn’t going somewhere under the shadow of and watchful eyes of his big brother. When they were younger the boys did most things as a pair. It was usually Cam and Lan. Now as they are older Cam often experiences things that Lan can not.
Lan is always asking when is it his turn?
Lan’s turn came by the way of a beautiful campus with Lake Hartwell as a magnificent backdrop. He was free this weekend to laugh as loud as he wanted; there was no one around to temper his excitement. This kid was delightfully happy for the time to just be. He was free to be him, idiosyncrasies and all, under the warmth of the sun.
There was no pressure to conform to the norm, no reason to curtail his excitement. There were no standards to measure him against others. If only he could have this luxury all the time?
But our society isn’t as forgiving as camp. It confines us to standards, norms and expectations. It pushes us ever toward goals and what it thinks we should be and how to behave.
I’m not advocating anarchy by any means but I wonder how much more the light inside my child could shine if he weren’t always under pressure to confine himself into someone else’s “box.” How much brilliance and creativity are snuffed out because society doesn’t always embrace creativity in others when it is packaged differently?
We should all be able to shine under the warmth of the sun free from expectations, scrutiny and the wayward glances of others. If only.
But with God we can shine and just be. He created us. There is no defect or deficiency under Him, only love. Love and acceptance of us just as we are.
There is an old hymn, Just As I Am, we used to sing in church when I was a child. I think my favorite stanza is as follows:
Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt;
Fightings within, and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come I come!
This weekend provided not only an opportunity for Lan to shine at Camp Sunshine but it was also a reminder that we all can “just be” in God’s presence if only we would dare step out of our confines and into His warmth.
Many of us, especially us Christians, are so preoccupied about what we do (or don’t do, or what others are doing!) we fail to simply “be.”
We fail to be content. We fail to be at peace. We fail to be still be in His presence and allow God to simply and amazingly love us.
We should be joyful. We should be grateful. We should be peaceful.
The Son shines on whosoever will dare to step into the light. His light can transform us into the people we want to become if we would pause long enough and simply be with Him!
In His presence, are the answers we seek, faith and hope that renew, and the peace that passes understanding.
Lan knows how to just be and receive love. He knows how to enjoy the present without worry about the future! Lan trusted that his father would provide the overnight camp he wanted.
I’m going to trust that my Father provides as generously for me as well!