I haven't blogged much in the last week. I've been kind of at a loss of what to say. (ME? Impossible!) I've been busy and I'm still thinking a lot about Camp Kawkawa. I'm still in shock that it's gone (well, closed).
I went up there last Saturday for a farewell open house. It was kind of a bitter sweet day. More bitter than sweet, to be honest. I saw some old friends, and that was good, but it was hard to see that beautiful location and know that that was the last function that would ever happen there. It was really last minute, too, because the decision to close the camp had come so quickly, so there were tons of people who couldn't make it or who don't even know yet that it's closed.
When I got there, I went all the way to the top of the property and started a kind of prayer walk/memory walk. I tried to go to each part of camp and just spend some time in each place bringing up memories and committing them to God. The hardest thing was seing the staff. Giggles, Rainbow, Mr Pots... they were all hoping to retire there. The new Director, Tim, just started in May. He and his wife were hoping to be there for 10-15 years. They made it seven months.
Giggles (er, Paulette) and I cried at the thought of the empty beach this summer. Where the hot summer air was once full of the sounds of kids playing and laughing and praising God, there will now only be silence and emptiness.
Man, I have a lot of memories from that place, both fun memories and memories of lessons and decisions that have shaped who I am today. I think that's why it's so hard to see the camp close: it's had such a huge impact on my faith, and I've linked that, probably too much, with camp. It's like once camp is gone, that part of who I am - while it's still there and can never be taken from me - no longer has a physical place to be tied to. The plan is to find a new location and start a new camp. That will be good, but it will never be the same. But really, when are we ever promised that things will stay the same?
There were lots of tears on Saturday, but the biggest ones fell when we were singing "Blessed Be Your Name." I've never had a hard time singing that before, but this time was different.
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say,
Lord, Blessed be Your name
It was a reminder that God gave this camp to us, and now he's taking it away. Nobody knows why. Everybody was saying last Saturday that if God is taking away such a wonderful, God-honouring, life-changing place, he must have something so much better up his sleeve. It's just hard to say goodbye and not know what's going to happen next.
Even as I was thinking about that, I came accross a newsletter from another camp that gave me yet a different perspective: I've often thanked God for giving us Camp Kawkawa, and now I'm wondering why he's taking it away. But in reality, it was never really given to us. Camp Kawkawa is God's. It always was. He's just invited us to use it. I'm so grateful for that invitiation.
* See pictures from Saturday's farewell party here.
* If you, too, have spent any time at Camp Kawkawa, please go to Camp Kawkawa Remembered and share a favourite memory. I am collecting stories that will be added to a book about Kawkawaand I'd love to hear your story.