I am sitting, right now, in a restaurant in the Charlotte, NC airport. The music filling the room is of a broken person crying out “Everyone needs to know someone cares!” I have thought about writing this for many months.
At DL, a car with a very uneasy 1st time camper drives up to the gazebo. A Guide welcomes the family, asks for the name of the camper, checks the list, gives the driver a sheet telling about the registration process, and helps the camper get his “stuff” out of the trunk The car is parked, the family is together again. Another Guide walks up, asks the camper his name, picks up much of the campers “stuff” and the two of them talk as they walk toward Founder’s Lodge. The camper checks in, gets a stick-on name tag, and is given his cabin assignment…again, name! A Woodsman Assistant Counselor calls him by name and they go to his cabin where the camper is greeted by his counselor – by name. His counselor can look at the name tag, but often he has previously seen the camper’s picture in the staff lounge. … Every effort is made to help the camper quickly feel he is welcome, that he is important, “that somebody cares”.
This “someone cares” takes a very different form if the camper is returning for his fifth summer. The car drives up, and the camper hops out with a huge grin…”Boss!” He’s back, and he knows his DL friend from New Jersey will be there, and he’s seen on the DL Tracks staff list who his Section Chief will be – “I know him”. As he heads for the Island he sees a few more familiar faces – and on the Island…laughs, hugs, stories. “I’m back!”. Gong rings, line up for flag lowering. I am there, just like I have been every session he has been in camp. This is Deerfoot. Nothing much changes.
This “someone cares” is so very important when the camper comes from a troubled home, that is better described as a house. Yes, mom may take her son to soccer practice, but he knows she sees this driving a necessary evil…an interruption of what is really important to her, an irritation. For some, when the boy arrives home from school, no one is home so he gets some food and goes to his room with his computer so he can play his video games and talk with his “Facebook” friends. No one listens to what has happened at school, be it good or bad. It is lonely. That someone cares means so much to the quiet student with bad complexion who goes to a large school where he is bullied. Yes, he has thought about suicide. A smile, a hug, a word of encouragement means so much. And to get this treatment all day…incredible! Yes, Deerfoot Lodge is God’s place – but it is also their place, and they know this.
You and I are no longer at Deerfoot Lodge. I smile when someone calls me by name and asks about my wife, or our dog. And Linda, or Bernice, or Judy smile when I walk into the plant nursery and call them by name, and then we talk a few minutes…what about does not really matter. We care about each other. (I have their names written down…memory is not my strong point!!!)
Does it really matter if they know I am a Christian? If I live In Partnership With God, should not the reality of Jesus’ love come through regardless? Do I really need to think…”I must love them because Jesus loves me?” Love is a Fruit of the Spirit. Everyone I meet is God’s creation…loved by God, just as I am – Jesus died for us. Can we really be indifferent to the people we meet, particularly to those who see themselves as one of the least… like the woman at the cash register at Wal-Mart. It takes only a moment to bring a smile to their face.
Sally Jo and I are friends with a couple at church. On a very difficult day the wife shared with us how one of high school teachers said she was the worst looking girl in the school. She finds it hard to believe anyone really cares about her. On a very difficult day she said to me, “Chuck, I think I could walk around this church stark naked and no one would notice.” Sally Jo and I have worked at demonstrating we really do care about her – for years! So much scar tissue.
The Bible clearly tells us to love…others, our neighbor, our enemies, our brothers in Christ. Loving requires caring.
Do we consistently bring the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness?
Showing love may take but a moment, or years. It may be easy, or very difficult.