You know those calls you wish never came? The ones you can't prepare for. The doctor with test results. The family member with a tragedy. The friend with an unknown illness. The neighbor with a catastrophe. You know the call.
Monday night during supper - I must confess - I did not take a call because I didn’t know the number & we were in the middle of the meal. Voicemail would catch it. Not even a minute later the same number called our home phone. Then we knew it must be serious. Melanie answered.
An emergency call from our children’s camp director. A dear brother - an adult sponsor for our church kids - was just taken via ambulance to ER. My heart sank in concern as my mind swam with possibilities. I knew what I should do. Who else would be available? In the next few hours with completion of testing and doctor's consultation, confirmation arrived that I should go. He and his wife - our other adult sponsor - needed to return home for further tests.
Wanting our girls to have a replacement sponsor as well, I called a sister from church. Did she have any plans? For the next four days? Would she be willing to be the girl’s sponsor? She said yes.
Short on sleep, but ready to serve, we made the three hour drive and arrived for our kid camper’s breakfast Tuesday morning. We shared hugs, prayers, and tears, then settled into the week.
It’s Tuesday afternoon as I write. I am sitting here at camp. In my cabin with no A/C. Sweltering. Yet I sit in joy. The cacophony of children playing in the pool floating through my screened window. The laughter of boys below tumbling up the steep staircase. The assurance our kids have been reassured. The knowledge our brother will get the best medical care from doctors who know him.
I do not write in order to make myself the hero. Please do not read that. I am just the pinch hitter. I write because this could be you.
Maybe you have been the one in crisis. Maybe you have been the one to respond. Maybe that crisis is now.
You know what the answer is? The answer to make it through the crisis? Love.
Love is a verb.
Love serves. Love gives. Love sweats. Love laughs. Love cries. Love hurts. Love listens. Love prays.
Love is parents willing to entrust their precious ones to others for a week that those children might learn more of the things of God.
Love is children leaving home with a little fear to find a lifetime full of faith.
Love is volunteers with more concerns than you know giving their week to a bunch of sweaty kids.
Love is a sister who had other plans this week out in the pool playing with kids right now.
Love is a child taking the hand of another who is homesick and walking the dirt path together.
Love is a brother laughing out loud as he throws ice water on children in the middle of a silly camp game on a hot afternoon.
This is love from children’s camp. But love is so much more than this.
What is love in your life? How have you given it? When have you received it?
Call it out. Write it down. Pray it deep. Live it out.
And - just in case - you are not loving or feeling loved, please join in. Your life will never be the same when you do.
Love’s not easy.
But it’s worth it.