The between times. By that I mean the unscheduled moments that come between the scheduled activities. The time spent walking from the cabin to the dining hall and back. The time in line in the bathroom. The moments hanging around when nothing seems to be happening. These are the moments, it seems to me, when all that the directors and counselors and chaplains teach about the life of faith and about healthy relationships are put to the test. These are the times when what our kids really believe is made evident. It is somewhat easy, after all, to maintain a facade of good behavior when the adults are around as obvious supervisors. But what happens when the campers don't know that adults are looking?
I have seen wonderfully good news this week during these between times. During chapel yesterday evening I saw a number of campers gather for a moment around one who was homesick to share the peace. This morning I overheard a group as they were walking past the cabin in which I am staying. The group was mixed, including boys and girls of different races and socioeconomic backgrounds. They were singing and laughing and talking about music. I waited a moment after they passed to see if there were any stragglers who were not included in the group. There were none.
We all bring our full humanity to this place. So our interactions are not always selfless and loving. We do hurt one another, we do misunderstand. But what I've seen in the between times is people who more often than not live the best of their humanity in this place. I've seen people of all ages more often than not being their best selves. That's what Shrine Mont can do - it can bring out our best selves. It takes attentiveness and intentionality, for the fullness of our frail humanity is always with us. But we are attentive and intentional here. The faith is lived here, not only when we talk about it overtly, but even in between times.
By Bishop Susan Goff
Spreading the good news of Shrine Mont Camps into the Valley of the World.
The View from the Mountain is written by a rotating cast of staff writers and contributors.