Updated: Feb 2, 2021
There is this little chapel in the middle of the north woods tucked in between Shawano and Clintonville. The chapel unfortunately goes unused for most of the year as it is part of the Imago Dei Summer camp. The second you step through the doors, your senses are completely overwhelmed by this comforting smell of the cedar that makes up the walls and ceiling. The smell seems even more potent upon opening the doors after a long winter away. I’m sure there’s a natural explanation for the increased intensity, but it almost seems as if the anticipation of return is amplifying the senses.
Every week of camp came to a point on Thursday nights in the chapel with a candlelight worship service. Following the last song we would all make our way outside to sit under the stars of the north woods. Campers would sit in cabin groups as one by one, their counselor would call over a camper to share words of affirmation. As a counselor, this was my favorite part of the week. We spent the last few days getting to know these kids and helping them to explore their faith. It was such a cathartic experience especially after particularly challenging weeks. Despite what happened in the days prior, we gathered together on Thursday to sit down and tell each child that they have something special to share with the world, and that they are loved.
When I think about where I find God in the world, I immediately think of camp. For me, it’s almost like a little spiritual utopia with music, nature, and wonderful caring people. It’s wild to think that I was ever paid to spend my summers there. I remember talking with a friend about how we wish that the rest of the world could be more like life is at camp. What I came to realize is while I can’t experience that rush of cedar as I open the chapel doors, I can take the essence of Thursday night affirmations out into the world. I can share regular affirmation with the people around me. I can offer forgiveness when we have challenging weeks together. I can share the love of God.
Lord, help me to share your love with others in my daily life.