Generations

Camp started on Sunday. It’s my favorite time of year. I have memories of camp that go back to the earliest memories I can recall.

Something remarkable occurred to me on Sunday night. I was sitting in the service, and watching my nephew play in the rocks beside the tabernacle. As I watched him, it suddenly hit me that he is part of the fourth generation of our family to be involved in the history of this camp.

My grandparents started coming up to the camp years ago for camp meeting. My mother attended as a young girl, and has devoted almost every summer of her life to working at camp. I started coming up at birth with Mom, and now I spend at least one week of every summer there. And now, my brother and cousin bring their kids up during the evening services until they are old enough to attend as campers. It is so amazing to think that I’m part of something that has touched generations of my family. Life isn’t always so kind to us in regards to that. My grandparents were once a part of a church. They had been part of that church for so long, that they could remember when the foundation of the first building was laid. And my grandfather probably laid some of that foundation himself. However, because of circumstances and because of the sheer meanness in people, the day came when that church split, and my family was caught in the middle. I can’t go into details, but the scar that was left on the heart of my family has still not healed completely for all of us. I have family members who quit church altogether because of the hurt they had suffered during that time. It took many years for some of my family to commit to, much less get involved with, another church.

That is why it was such a wonderful thing to me to realize that after all of these years, my family is still part of the camp. My grandparents’ legacy is still in the air. I can still feel the memories of their presence there. I can still hear my Aunt Linda teaching us in class under the tabernacle. I can remember sermons my Dad preached that led to some of the most beautiful altar services I’ve ever seen. I can see my Mom working herself into exhaustion to make certain that everything was running smoothly. I can smell the scent of the cottonwood and hickory trees that always transported me back to that place.

So, as I watched my nephew play, I couldn’t help but try to catch a glimpse of his future. I couldn’t help but try to see what the camp has in store for his life. I know that he has no idea about the legacy that he carries when he walks that hill. I do, though. I know. I understand that he is part of something so much bigger than himself. I know that as he plays in the rocks, he is creating the beginning of his own legacy. I know that with everything that happens to him, from skinned knees to fantastic altar services, there is a story that will be told for generations.

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