Sunday, February 3, 2013

Camp Friends

When you've lived at a camp in the middle of nowhere for 6+ years, 70 miles from the nearest Wal-Mart, without cell phone service... adjusting to the 'real world' can be quite the process. Shoot, even if you've lived in a camp setting for an intense summer of ministry, adjusting back to the 'real world' can also be quite the ordeal.

Here are just a few things I've noticed/forgotten:
  • I can actually run into a grocery store to get a few items without having to plan for my entire week of groceries...and it can actually take just five minutes. Who knew? 
  • Traffic happens. Every day. 
  • People can see in your windows at night and so it's necessary to shut your blinds. 
  • Friendships/relationships take time to develop. 
I've actually had a few conversations with some of my past summer staff who struggle in their friendships at school because they aren't like the ones they had at camp.... and while it's been a long time since I've been in their exact shoes, my move to New England from the camp world has reminded me of the struggle. I remember being in undergrad and constantly yearning for the same depth with my school friends that I had had with my camp friends and because my relationships were different, I remember being dissatisfied. 

But, here's the thing... 
I think I placed some unrealistic expectations on my school friends. I had forgotten that camp is this isolated world where we were doing intense amount of ministry all day, every day. We were sweating, crying, bleeding, laughing, and living in a state of constant exhaustion. We were living life together in this bubble where God was doing crazy awesome things like changing my camper's lives and my own in the process. I was being used in ways that were so beyond me and so in spite of me, and I remember my summers at camp being some of the first moments where I really understood how it wasn't about me. The nature of our jobs, plus the intentional team building and group development that we suffered through in the training weeks preceding actual camp, brought the staff together in ways that were highly unnatural, for such a time as that. 

Summer camp is it's own beast... full of drama and emotions on a whole new level. Both good and bad. It's a beautiful thing, but it's not necessarily always the best thing....and I think sometimes we tend to make our summer camp experiences what we think our 'norm' should be and everything else fails to compare to it, especially in regard to relationship. 

I've noticed it particularly in being up here the last month. I have the tendency to expect friendships to happen quickly. Deep friendships. I quickly grow tired of the, 'where are you from/what were you doing before this/what program are you in...' conversations and I want to take the unnatural leap to 'tell me all the most intimate things about you...' in efforts to feel as though I truly know people here and that they truly know me. To alleviate the moments of loneliness that I feel in the midst of being new. doesn't work like that. And I'm not sure if it should. And I'm certain that I shouldn't expect it to. There's a patience that's required, an earned trust that's necessary, an intentionality in seeking out others and not expecting them to want to hang out with you or talk to you every day. To recognize that even if I see someone once a week, that's actually quite a lot in places outside of camp (or even dorm life in college...). 

On some level, I think that might even make the relationships healthier... the more I let them happen naturally vs. trying to force the intensity and depth from the beginning. 

It's a change of pace for me...but I don't think it's a bad one. 
I don't know if you're like me at all, or if you've ever experienced what I'm referring to... or maybe you're still in the midst of being dissatisfied with relationships because they just aren't matching up to the ones you had at camp, or college, or on that mission trip...or whatever other close-knit community you had for a short season of time. 

I guess I hope that we would all be willing to allow this aspect of life to look different, no matter where we are. That we would let go of expectations and instead of living in disappointment and frustration with the relationships in our lives, that we would be people who love well...despite what we feel like we're getting out of it. That we would allow people into our own messy lives, even if they aren't necessarily ready to let us into theirs...or that we would long to know them more personally, even if they don't seem to care about us on the same level. Or...that we would simply be patient and let relationships build up over time, embracing them for what they are in this moment...instead of constantly comparing to them to what we think they 'should' or 'could' be. 

You may just be surprised. 
I hope I am. And instead of always yearning for what was, I'd like to be in a place where I am truly satisfied right where I am...including all of the relationships that I do or don't currently have...because I'm trusting that it's still good and that I'm still learning and growing (even in the loneliness, the awkwardness, and the insecurity). 

It's about perspective... 
And I'm learning to be open to new things in new ways for this new season. 

Your entries will remain anonymous

No comments:

Post a Comment