Thursday, July 25, 2013
We spent a week this summer hanging out with the campers at Camp Abilities, a special week offered to people with disabilities by our church camp. Adam was invited to be the camp pastor and bring the family along. We've been wanting to go for a number of years but this was the first time it worked out with schedules.
It's amazing how experiences in life change you so much. There was a point in my life when I would have been terrified to spend a week surrounded by people with various disabilities. Crazy! Now I was just excited, to have my kids join in camp life, to be with people who look a lot like my kids, to try to show them love in some small way.
It was everything I had hoped it would be. Caedmon got to ride a horse for the first time, and rode one every day we were there. Damek caught his first fish and loved it so much he went back several days in a row. My active, very energetic boy fishing! Both older boys got to shoot arrows and, after reading Robin Hood, that was a highly anticipated activity. Asher rode on boats and loved all the attention he got from campers and staff alike. We all loved splashing in the water and canoeing.
There was so much to enjoy: the weather was amazing, I didn't have to cook or clean up for a whole week, heaven!
There was also some unexpected pain. Being able to raise our children from small, adorable babies is such a grace-filled plan. I was not prepared to be surrounded by adults with Down syndrome and observe their varying degrees of ability and disability. It was a small window into what Asher will look like. I was not ready to see him like that. He's still my little one. There is still so much unknown, so much hope of what might be.
And then I started to worship with the campers. Every morning and evening Adam gave a devotional talk. And every evening and morning the campers would enthusiastically respond to every song, every question, every story, every mention of Jesus. 'Oh, I love Jesus!' 'Jesus is a good guy! He's a good guy!' Their utter abandon and openness to speak the Name and sing His praise was awesome. And I don't know if you've ever had the ability to sit in a room full of people who happened to be born with disabilities and hear them sing about heaven but I could barely stand the beauty without breaking down into sobs. It put everything into perspective.
That's what hope's all about, my friends. Not the temporal promise of 80 short years here but the eternal promise of body and minds made new, complete and whole in Christ. It leaves me free to love my children as they are and let my grief lay at the feet of Jesus.