PART 1 OF 4:
On my last post, I told you that I wanted to share with you things I've learned this summer.
Before I went to camp, I worried and worried and worried about it. (I think it should be obvious that worrying nets you nothing but migraines, but there you go.) Of course, I worried about the obvious stuff like my ability to simply be able to do it. However, I also worried about whether or not people would like me (typical co-dependent stuff) and if I'd be able to relate to the kids. There was also an unspoken worry about whether I was "good enough" as a Christian to do this. I think that unspoken worry was the worst. Honestly, it was the one I didn't want to even think about, more less form into a coherent thought that could be addressed.
One of the things I've learned over the course of my Soundtrack Posts*(story of my life set to song) is that I really screwed up. We aren't far enough long (yet) for you to see the entire disaster roll out, but if you're paying attention all the makings for it are in place. My self-esteem took a severe punch during the three years of junior high school** creating what I called "holes," and it never really recovered. I would spend a very long time trying to throw anything and everything into those holes so I could feel whole. Do you see the irony?
*link to Soundtrack posts (in general)
**link to junior high school and "holes" post (in specific)
Worse, I would make decisions that would put me further and further out of touch with my Christian faith. I was looking in "worldly places" for someone or something to fix my holes. (How many people does it take to say "you are pretty" or "you are worthy" or "you are smart" to undo years of damage? I don't know, but I can tell you I NEVER reached that number.) I had no idea that I already had everything I needed to repair those holes. Had I simply looked toward my faith instead of away, the answer would've been really obvious, as it is to me right now. (I died for you. I love you. You are already worthy. Go in peace, my child.)
Back to pre-camp and my last session with my therapist. I told her some of my worries. She told me that I don't need to share with the folks at camp the worst aspects of my life. Migraines. Disability. Abuse. Instead, focus on the positive. Knowing me, she also reminded me of the law of thirds. That is one third of the people will really like you, one third will be "okay" with you, and the last third will dislike you. Possibly because you remind them in some indistinct way of someone else that they actively dislike. Or, yeah, it could just be you. In other words, it would be unrealistic to go into this experience thinking everyone is just going to embrace you with open arms.
For the record, I still believe in the law of thirds. However, I also believe in the laws of time and experience. What do I mean by that? I mean that the law of thirds would've been an excellent outcome for my camp experience. The reality was that most of the staff was much younger than I am (in their twenties, with many still in college). In other words, most of them them could've been my kids. AND they knew each other. Just like I knew the other counselors way back when I was last at camp in 1986 and 1992. It was like a reunion with your camp family. WELL, that makes it tough for a new/old person who isn't part of the family. So, we hadn't spent time together and our experience was vastly different.
Now go back and pull in my biggest and unspoken fear: You are not a "good enough" Christian to be here.
I spent the four days of training in an internal argument with myself. The scared part kept saying things like, "What do you think you're doing? You aren't capable of helping anyone." The added bonus was, "Most of the staff doesn't even like you. They know you're not good enough to be here." The more rational part was saying things like, "This will get easier as time goes by. Maybe my experience can help someone else." I suppose the more rational side won since I stayed.
Given my trouble with migraines, I decided not to be a cabin counselor, but to be on support staff. Believe me when I say that was much more than I thought. I taught three activities every day and worked somewhere during Free Time. However, most of the time my evenings were free. That was a mixed bag. I liked being able to just go to bed if I didn't feel well. I missed evening campfires and the way God works within one.
I believe it was Sunday night/Monday morning of week one when I woke up at 3am (probably with a migraine), but also with a certainty that I was supposed to give a testimonial message at the campfire for the high school girls. I wasn't all that keen on it, but the idea wouldn't let me go, and I was up until 6am working it out in my head. When that sort of thing happens, I know that it is outside of me. It wasn't what I wanted, but I still ended up talking to the Division Director, telling her the way this happened, and giving that message on Tuesday night.
Come back on Monday and I'll share with you that message.
Are you familiar with the law of thirds? Do you struggle with the idea of people not liking you? Have you made choices that took you further from, instead of closer to, your faith? What do you do when you're in a situation that scares you?