She was my "camp buddy," assigned to me at Girl Scout camp one summer in an effort to ensure that every camper had a friend away from home.
I don't really remember why I didn't like her. Maybe because she was a bit socially awkward, and I was diligently trying to work my way up the esteemed camper social ladder. Maybe because she was emotionally needy, and her vulnerability made me uncomfortable. No matter the reason, I did everything humanly possible that week to ignore her, duck out on her, and do only the bare minimum to meet camp buddy requirements.
One night that camp week, a severe storm blew through the area and the campers had to take shelter in the camp bathroom. I cringe thinking of my meager attempts to connect with her and make sure she was okay.
So much was the "whitewashed tomb" of my own soul (see Matthew 23:27). I was "beautiful" on the outside when I was with the people I wanted to be with—like those cool camp girls whom I so longed to emulate. But on the inside I was shallow and self-serving, not willing to come alongside the girl who (just like me) only wanted to be loved and included.
Sometimes I wonder if that same girl, all grown up, ever looks back to that week at camp. I wonder if she remembers her too-cool-for-her companion who totally burned her, time and time again. How I wish my heart had been more ordered to Saint Paul's (see Thessalonians 3:9). What a missed opportunity to love!
Today we aren't riding the waves of preteen insecurities (and thanks be to God for that!). But still the Lord calls us to love with deeper, purer, more willing hearts.
Even when it's hard.
Even when it's awkward.
Even when we feel like that insecure kid at camp.
Let's pray today for the ability to follow Saint Paul's model. Let's walk in the way of steadfast love.