This past week I was at Camp on the Rock, located at Camp Kwasind in Muskoka. I lived in the bushes with some 100 people, most of them children and youth, with a few adults over 35!
Throughout the week, adult after adult commended me on being courageous. Something special was surely happening to me, but in my head, it had nothing to do with courage; for in that place, I was a bush woman, fueled by divine energy, fearless in my country roots!
I limped joyously around the camp, up and down sometimes steep stairs and across the beautifully rugged camp grounds. I raced cane-free to meetings, to camp fire, to worship, to meals, to the beach, and to just about every corner of the camp to chase after the bustling kids assigned to my cabin. Like any able-bodied person, I tired a little, I dragged my feet sometimes, stumbled once or twice, and even staggered drunkenly when I felt lazy and intoxicated from the heat.
A girl from my cabin group, who my co-cabin leader Lizzie (Mighty Leader) and I named Joyful, got me right! She watched me grab one end of the bench we just sat on for lunch, as Mighty Leader grabbed the other end; and together we placed the bench upside down and onto the table. With her curious joy and childish sincerity, Joyful said “You’re strong!” She was right.
I felt strength, but it wasn’t my strength. It was strength wrapped in the love of another much, much, greater than me! That love was in the eyes, arms and heart of Rowena (Arouser of Greatness). She compelled me into the lake, to attempt swimming for the first time since my stroke 6 years ago. When she held on to me, I felt so strong and I could swim!When she let go of me, and my feet could not kick to hold my body up, I felt myself going down beneath the water. Courage could not save me, only the loving arms of Arouser of Greatness; she reminded me that the water had no power over me!
Later, strength again took hold of me as I placed my bottom on the dock, dropped my legs into a canoe, and eased myself into the front, with Joyful sitting behind me and Curt (Extraordinary Leader of Leaders) at the rear. Extraordinary Leader of Leaders skilfully guided the canoe, which carried us calmly across deep waters to the beautiful little island.
A stranger held out her hand, so I could lift myself out of the canoe and step up onto the dock. I then took the hand of Beautiful (the name Mighty Leader and I gave to another of our campers). Beautiful gave me the additional strength I needed to climb to the peak of the Island. And when it was time to climb back down to the dock, Sarah (Guider of Spirit) reached her hands behind her, so I could hold-on, add my strength to hers, and follow her sure-foot, down the steep path to the dock.
There was no need or place for courage at Immanuel Baptist Church’s Camp on the Rock 2013. It gave divine strength to all it touched, and filled us with overwhelming joy and love.