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Archive for February 5th, 2017

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As I walked down the grocery store aisle a young man caught my attention. He looked to be in his mid twenties, shopping with an attractive young woman. I knew, as soon as I saw him, who he was … for I could never forget him.

I met him almost ten years ago, at a place I’d never been, to leave my son, for a week, in the care of people who I had never met.

He was a friendly teen with a big smile and friendly eyes. He was so welcoming, so wordlessly comforting to this momma dealing with the pending separation anxiety.

Hubby and I bid farewell to our son, with big hugs and reminders that we would see him at the end of the week. Then we walked away from him, surrounded by his school friend, a handful of other boys, and his two, fearless leaders. We were both feeling hopeful and fearful all at once.

About six months earlier, the mom of our son’s friend called and asked if our son would like to go to summer camp. It was a church camp that their family had been attending for at least two generations. Though he would only be six years old, he was keen to spend five sleeps with his school buddy, so we decided to say “yes” and allow him his first week at summer camp.

The day we were to drop him off, I was so unsure.

Days later, we arrived to pick up son. He was filthy behind the ears, exhausted, and totally joy-filled. He gave his new friends high fives, hand-shakes and hugs good bye. But it was his farewell to this one cabin counsellor that tugged at my heart. There were few words said, yet communication that pierced the heart.

What this teen didn’t know (nor did I at that time) was that our son had been bullied at school for the two previous years. Having unconditional care and friendship from this cool teenager greatly encouraged our boy … rebuilding and repairing what had been torn away.

The following year, as we drove onto the camp grounds, this councillor greeted our son, by name. Our son had this young man as his camp counsellor again, and he was thrilled.

A few years later we saw him at a concert, and again, he greeted our boy by name.

There are few things I know, that I know, in this life, but this I know for sure, that young man introduced our son to Jesus, because he always made him feel welcomed here on Earth.

I stared, as inconspicuously as possible, to be completely certain it was him.

Soon I was close enough to be so bold as to greet him. Before I fully had the question “were you a counsellor at camp …” off my lips, he said, “you’re Ben’s mom” and I smiled, and nodded.

He told me that they follow each other on Instagram, that he planned to visit him this summer at camp … Ben’s tenth summer at camp … as a camper and as a counsellor.

This young man may never fully know, this side of heaven, that he had opened a door to eternity …

until, maybe, he has a child,

and he takes his child,

hopefully, fearfully,

to camp for the first time,

and some teenager welcomes his child

as though he were welcoming God himself.

 

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