Friday, August 17, 2007

Not All Tears Are An Evil

...a few weeks this summer I used clips from The Lord of the Rings movies to help illustrate points in my Bible Studies. After all, the Lord of the Rings trilogy is filled with examples of people being heroes to others, but also having struggles along the way. They're all very human, but also noble, and want to be heroes.

It worked well, I think. On Friday, I liked to show the end of The Return of the King, where Frodo is talking to himself while he's writing his part of the story. The voice-over is great. What he says, in essence, is that after you go through something intense, you can't simply go back home to what you were used to. That, you slowly understand: you are changed, and there is no going back. ("How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on? When, in your heart... you begin to understand - there is no going back.")

And so it is with camp. Whenever I used that clip with campers, I tried to explain how it was going to be the same with them; that camp had affected them and that when they went home, they'd be different. It's the same with staff members. The summer is so deep, so compounded, that it'd be very difficult for it to not affect you. Andy said something interesting last night which I hadn't ever thought of before: Lakeview Chapel at Casowasco is his home church. If you figure that we're in the chapel seven days a week (not at all on Saturday, but twice on Sunday) for at least eight weeks, that's fifty-six times you're there per year. That leaves forty-four Sundays at your local church. Truly, Casowasco is home to a good many of us.

So it follows that it'd be emotional as the summer draws to a close. At times yesterday, it was a struggle to fight back the tears. Before I knew it last night, the cape was off the cross, the set was torn down, and staff were leaving in droves, including myself. We pour so much into the kids, so much into the rest of the staff, only to have all of them disappear in what seems like a blink of an eye. And we're left with the sort of questions that don't have any answers: Did I make any sort of impact? Will anything I said stick? Did I show any of them enough of His love? When it comes down to it, will they make wise decisions? Will they acknowledge God and make Him the center of their life? .......I don't know.

My Friday morning Lord of the Rings clips didn't end with Frodo lamenting over how you couldn't go home again, though. No, they ended with Gandalf saying, "I will not say 'do not weep', for not all tears are an evil." Having the summer end is incredibly sad, and it happens very fast. We run and run and run and finally hit the proverbial brick wall like Wile E. Coyote
did so often, and we're left with little things buzzing around our heads, making us wonder if the whole summer was a dream. But it wasn't a dream. It was hard, and felt long at times, and made us want to scream and laugh and sing and praise and fall on our knees, but it wasn't a dream. It was great work, and we've earned the right to be remorseful that it's over (for this year). We did great work, and we've earned the right to cry tears of joy.