Perspective is critical. Through the rain, the fog, the sun, whatever elements move to us in a given day, how we count ourselves among that is necessary in forming the experience. I direct our youngest program, Bear Camp, and at this age there comes a certain ferocity. When the waterfront is fun, it’s the greatest thing in existence; unmatchable. When the rain has been coming down all day, clothes are wet, and we’re still out playing hard in it, the thought of pushing through for another round of Star Wars can seem almost impossible. The world needs this ferocity and it also needs a rightly placed perspective. Thankfully, Rockmont is a place to grow into a greater perspective of opportunity that leads to growth.
I think one of the greatest things that can influence our perspective is gratitude. Gratitude lends us to an openness in our interactions with others. It welcomes us to see beauty. It pulls us into the thrill of whatever is next. With gratitude, the possibility of seeing the good even as the rain beats down and soaks through even one’s rain jacket, is boundless. One is always on the threshold of excitement, love, challenge, friendship.
Tonight as the Birch Tribe was on their way to play three ball–three–disc I stopped and spoke with two campers – brothers – Jack and Will. Jack and Will have a particular joy about them, always willing to engage a question or try and trick you into thinking your shoes are untied. As I slowed down and sort of gently invited them over to where I was, they were intrigued; Will and Jack are always on the threshold of the next best thing. We sat for a second and I asked them what has been a highlight from camp so far. This question is often phrased as, “What is the best thing about camp?” Best is good, but even the things that aren’t the best are worth considering. Plus, that’s an overwhelming question for a 9-year-old. Two standard answers are usually, “I’m not really sure” and “Everything.”
As soon as the last word landed in Jack’s ear he says, “Everything about camp has been a highlight!” Will shortly follows with, “Can’t decide. There’s so many good things.” These answers were not a dodge; not wanting to entertain or think of what the highlight might be. For Will and Jack, I think every moment really is their favorite moment. Still, I encouraged them to consider further what makes camp so rich and beautiful for them. Jack unhesitatingly exclaims, “Everyone here are my brothers even though I’ve only known them for a few days. I feel loved by everyone. Today, another camper let me stand underneath his umbrella in the rain. And if you fall down they’ll pick you up.”
In tonight’s Gospel story, the beginning verses of The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus invites us to receive a different perspective. It’s a reimagining of how things and people are structured around us. Jesus repeats several times the language of, “Blessed are those…” In Jesus’ standing – or perhaps sitting – and teaching this new way of seeing God’s children, what seems like a reversal of how things should be, he welcomes us into rich perspective. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” When it seems like the strong shall inherit the earth, Jesus plainly tells us that it is the meek. When it seems like we should just stay inside and watch the rain fall down from the roof, shielding us from having to stretch, there are Jack and Will – and so many other campers – saying, “Come and play! This is a good thing. Things can be different.”
I’m grateful for work that lets boys be wild, stretching themselves and getting out into the rain. Without the willingness from everyone to go out and be no matter what the day holds, things would be a lot less interesting. I’m grateful for how a child’s perspective can inform us. Informing us in gratitude, joy, and God’s hope for us to get out and be among God’s people.
Bear Camp Director
Matthew 5: 1-12
The Beatitudes – Jesus teaches us about Blessings
+ Where do you connect with the story?
+ What’s the Good News?