So for the past day and a half I have been constantly thinking about this girl I went to high school with. I hadn’t spoken to her since high school, freshman year in fact, but I had recently become “friends” with her on Facebook (I know, gag…not real friends, right?). BUT, in my defense, she actually was a friend.
We played freshman volleyball together. She was like 6’0 in the ninth grade and I was maybe 5’1 on a good day. Anyway, there were three of us who always kinda palled around together for some reason or another. The summer between our freshman and sophomore year she invited me to her church camp. I am still not sure why my mom let me go. It was a Baptist camp and my family was Catholic. I remember thinking that everyone there was absolutely insane. WHO SINGS SONGS ABOUT THE DEVIL? “Shut the door, keep out the devil, shut the door keep the devil in the niiiiiight!” Um yeah, let’s keep the devil in the night. And let’s not sing about him at all, thank you.
Anyway, I specifically remember one night at camp they had what they call an “altar call.” I felt this reeeaaaallly strong urge to go up and to pray the prayer they were all praying. Something like the Sinners Prayer or the Prayer to receive Christ. I don’t remember the name of the prayer, only the overwhelming urge that I should be praying it. But alas, I was Catholic and so I didn’t NEED Christ, I was BORN a Christian and you didn’t need to pray ANYTHING to receive Christ, you either were or you weren’t based on whether or not you were born into a Catholic family – and I was, so I was all set. I wasn’t sure how Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians or any other denomination became Christians. I guess I thought they were born that way too…poor things, they were Christian, but weird. Needless to say, I did not pray that prayer that night and by the time I got home I had already forgotten most of my experience and any prayers we prayed except the “Our Father” which is THE Catholic prayer. Well that and the “Hail Mary.” (I think I used to pray the “Our Father” like ten times before I went to bed every night thinking it would be more powerful and increase my chances of answered prayers like getting a new hamster or that new Rick Springfield poster).
So, here it is a bajillion years later. That friend of mine and I pretty much stopped hanging out once we hit the big pond and yesterday morning I heard that she had passed away. There weren’t many specifics except that it sounded like she was in a lot of emotional pain and that she is survived by her son and husband. I guess the reason why I’ve been thinking so much about her is that – crazy as it may sound – that camp was my first exposure to the gospel. Not a homily, not a “reading,” not religious education, but the compelling pull that Christ has on all of our lives. The Good News. You know what that pull is and you know when you feel it. We can either choose Him or we can deny Him. I denied Him that night. But thirteen years later, I chose to ask Him into my heart and started an unbelievable journey that I am so thankful for.
I’ll never be a church mousey kind of person, I still love to read all kinds of philosophical stuff and not so philosophical (US Weekly), I challenge everything (even God), I am sarcastic, stubborn and strong-willed and don’t even get me started on my musical preferences – But I know Christ and I know he has a plan and purpose for my life and I know no matter what – I can count on Him. I hope my friend found the peace she was looking for and I hope she got to meet Jesus face to face. I doubt she knows that I am thankful for those four days at Baptist Summer Camp, but God sure knew what he was doing when he had her invite me. I hope that along the way there is at least one person who will remember me as the person who introduced them to the most important person they will ever need to know – Jesus Christ. You never know why people are in your life, but God knows exactly what He’s doing and I am thankful for that.
Categories: All The Rest