since coming back to school everyone has been asking how my summer has gone and so on. the typical reunion question. well while being here early i have basically been immersed in theatre as we are getting ready for Doubt to show in two weekends. well a couple of nights ago we were at our technical director's house having a bonfire and we were going around saying how God has revealed himself to us or something that we have learned while being away. and i think that night was the first time i have been able to verbally express what i have found out about myself. here is it all in a nutshell [a large nutshell]:
no one can ever know what it is like or even come close to understanding what i have been through unless you have worked at the camp that i served at. its a camp thats for kids in the surrounding neighborhood that live under the government poverty line. the majority of the kids that we got came with behavioral issues like trying to run away constantly, cussing us out, disrespect, anger issues, experienced abuse [physically, verbally, sexually], etc and also many of them arent given their medication that they need since it gives the parents a free week that they dont have to buy because they dont have to deal with their child for that week....we do. we have ADD, ADHD, anger management, depression, asthma [some] who dont have the proper medication to help them. so right from the beginning it is tough. then you have the extra factors such as co-workers with different personalities or beliefs that you may rub wrong with, the fact that i was ten weeks away from home and with no car, no phone to call home when things got rough, being in a new place with fifty-some new people, etc.
so, with this tiny snap shot of a background of what atmosphere i was living in, i can finally get into what i learned =] the first lesson i learned was that i have the gift/curse of an empathetic spirit. i knew that i had a caring/loving personality and i love helping people but i never realized that it was this strong until the third week of camp. i can remember it like it was last week. we had at least seven campers [no older then eight] who would constantly try to run away, two of whom wanted to "kill all your family"/throw themselves into the river, and physically hurt themselves and others while cussing out everyone who walked by. well, it was tuesday and Bryan [seven] almost succeeded in jumping into the river [it took two counselors to hold him back], Zachary [eight] had to be restrained five times, Edward [six and my favorite camper of that week] was cursing people out, trying to run away and hitting campers and staff members with sticks, along with three others trying to run away. i was outside and just helped a counselor basically coral a kid back into the camp so he wouldnt go out to the road and i just looked around and saw chaos all around me. i have never seen such confusion, exhaustion, stress and chaos in my life. i was standing in the middle of the back field near the river's bank and i just broke down. i didnt and still dont understand why these kids wanted to kill my entire family for me loving them with all my heart. didnt/dont understand why it was these kids that satan was attacking and destroying piece by piece. they have been through enough in their lifetime that no child should ever go through and yet they are the ones that get ripped apart. i cried like i have never cried before. it literally was painful to see these children scream and wail and fight. my heart ached and i couldnt take it. i went to the dock, my place of peace at camp, and wailed out asking why these kids had to go through it. i questioned God and his love for us. i begged for these kids to have peace and understanding that we loved them even if their families didnt. for an hour or so i cried out in anger, confusion, and disbelief.
after that incident i had no idea what to do with the emotions i was feeling for these kids that were so real and so painful. my love and care for the kids were more harm then help to me or anyone else. my heart was heavy and it was killing my joy i had in my job and my ability to be happy. i still dont know how to control/deal with the strong feelings that i hold for people when they are going through tough times/good times but at least now i know that i dont know what to do with them. i need to find a way to channel my listening/emotions/love into a way that will help the people i care for and learn how to give them up to God so they dont destroy me.
second lesson: this summer i have experienced strong emotions on both sides of the spectrum. my love for my teens [and the campers] is one that i have NEVER experienced before [teens]. and with every good thing there is always an opposite. the last week of camp i saw that i have a black heart. i can be an ugly mean person and i sadly had to find that out the hard way. i rarely lose control of my tongue and say what i really am thinking about a person but i did and i completely destroyed two friendships that could have been great. i have never been more embarrassed at something i have done, never regretted anything up until now. i let my anger take over my self-control. i apologized for my actions and me and one of the people are ok but the other relationship has been ruined. all because of seven words that i said out of anger. that friendship i dont think will ever be the same and i still have to forgive myself for it. he accepted the apology but a wall was built and i hope one day we can be on ok terms and maybe get back to the place we were but i really just hope that he know how embarrassed and sorry i am. i made a vow never to speak out of anger again and i plan on keeping that vow till im taken off this earth whenever that may be.
lesson three: throughout the summer the phrase "you have to take a risk" has been popping up in conversations with multiple people at different times that are not connected in any way....and i dont really believe in coincidences so its gotta mean something. i have learned/still learning that i cannot let the fear of the unknown hold me back from something. yeah this relationship might end in hurt and pain but how will i know if i dont try? ive never been in a relationship before and the possibility of having one terrifies me but i cant let that get in the way of something good. the uncertainty about if i should go to LA for the film studies program cant control my semesters here at school. the nervousness i feel for classes in my field and confidence i lack in my ability shouldnt hold me back in my drive to jump right in so i can learn and better the skills i think i dont have. i have to take risks to learn and find myself. yeah it scares the shit out of me but the Lord and my friends have my back.
i have learned other things too but its too late for my brain to function properly or write them down to make any much sense and these are the big three. haha that sounded funny =]
i have a feeling this year is going to bring many changes in my life. this summer has already changed my perspective and understanding of myself [obviously as you can tell from above writings] and i can only imagine what else these next months are going to bring into the light. i feel like my friendships, relationships, career choices, perspectives, beliefs, etc are going to be challenged, shaken, improved, and shaped. im nervous but excited at the same time. this year is the year of shifts i think. hopefully it will shift in my favor. well i guess we will see. g'night loves.