Archive for June, 2003

Today was my day off. I hiked down from the top of a mountain, saw my parents, listened to my headphones, ran from people that might ask me to bear some responsibility, fell asleep on a couch and went on a date with a girl almost 10 years younger than me.

Camp is a reality bubble. I love it. I don’t miss reality at all. There is no news, no newspapers, no media, no bills, no wallets…only a bubble of positivity.

It is odd that I came to camp to avoid being buried by the avalanche of non-events that make up a job search.

Not too smart really. I need a job to convince myself that reality is worth participating in, yet I get so discouraged just looking for the job (imagine actually having to do the work) that I need a three month trip to fantasy land just to continue.

Continue what? I’m only making it harder. The more I enjoy what I’m doing now, the more difficult it will be for me to work later.

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Today I am taking my first hours off in over two weeks. I sit here writing as a free man.

Camp life is very fulfilling. I have all the makings of a truly satisfying life. There are good people, meaningful work, a supportive environment, constant positive feedback, music, exercise, spirituality and even a little romance.

Many people will live their whole lives and not experience something quite so perfect. I tried to make a conscious decision to stay away from this type of stuff for a while. This is the reason I have so much trouble wanting to find a “real job”. I have repeated a loop like this one probably a dozen times in my life, never finding a way to sustain it, but only to whet my appetite for more.

True change stems from despair, dissatisfaction, boredom, or some other similar emotion. True change does not come from having all the makings of a truly satisfying life. There needs to be some kind of bottoming out or moment of reckoning.

And yet I can find no fault in the decisions I have made. It has been a life full of once in a lifetime experiences.

I am mentally committed to change, to at least try to live a relatively normal life for a while. That is semi-positive motion I guess.

But it is strange. It is like I am breaking up with a girlfriend with whom I’ve had no falling out.

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I went camping last night. I played basketball and capture the flag today.

My kids and I have a great relationship…I learn as much from them as they learn from me. I just marvel that I get to play all day and make a difference in kid’s lives and I get paid for it.

And there is the relationships I have with the staff. They are terrific….a whole group of people dedicated to creating a supportive, caring, fun environment. We are so focused on being role models for our kids that it rubs off on our other relationships. It is sort of like an artificial utopia.

I run and play and laugh like a kid. I have a bit of a Peter Pan complex going anyway. I think some part of me has yet to be convinced that the next stage of life holds the same magic this one does.

I want to grow up and I know that there are great things to come in theory, but I am in no hurry. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

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Woe is me.

There was a time I had a strict policy of closedness. This was to avoid being judged for what I believe or fail to believe. I changed this policy because I found it rather alienated me from people and I find a certain comfort in sharing myself with people.

I began the policy in the first place because I have always been different and people don’t understand that. They use what I say to put me in intellectual cubbyholes that were designed to classify people that think in normal ways. That isn’t me. If you take filters made to work for the majority and use them on those that fall outside the norm you will consistently make mistakes in judgment.

I got tired of being misunderstood so I kept my mouth shut about what I believe. I just let people judge me on my actions.

This worked extremely well but people complained that I never told anyone my thoughts and I naturally want to share myself with people. So it was a good policy in practice, but not very fulfilling personally.

Of course I always shared with my best friends, but I came to share almost nothing with good friends and acquaintances. It just wasn’t worth it. I was, and still am to a large extent, one of the most self-policed people I know. I have to be.

I also dislike having to clarify myself. It always digresses into semantics and arrives at something even more muddled than you began with.

Then there is this website. I often write private stuff or at least hint at the things that trouble me most. It has worked out well because only my closest friends read it and the others are mostly so far away that their judgments are tempered by the separation.

Then there is camp. It appears that some folks are reading my website. This puts them a little too close to the fire.

Additionally…and I know I’m gonna get flamed for this one, we are at a Christian camp. I truly love the community here, but any group of very like-minded individuals tends to get judgmental. They get doubly judgmental because they are religious. It becomes frighteningly easy to judge right and wrong when God is backing your moral code.

So far I think only two people have found the website and they are very good folk. However, as a preemptive move, I will have to starting pre-screening my comments on the religious aspect of camp. I won’t say anything untrue…it just won’t be as true as it could be.

I hate to do it, but I can’t risk one of these extremely nice people here at camp misjudging me because of comments meant for people that know me better.

Besides, many of them look up to me anyway and I take the responsibility of being a role model very seriously. Just don’t ask me to explain my motivations.

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I am like silly with exhaustion. Today was epic.

I schmoozed parents and shovelled mulch. I played capture the flag, went swimming, and led a devotion. There are eight 15 year old boys in my cabin and I tried desperately to build a positive foundation for the next two weeks with them. I have been going constantly from 7 to now….with the emphasis on going. It is almost midnight and I have to get to sleep.

Many times a day we ask ourselves an extremely important question: Is what I am doing making a difference? Today I answered it many times and it was always yes a hundred times over. Camp isn’t just fun and tending kids. Their parents send them here to grow, to be part of a community that supports life at its best, and to become men. I have read the letters parents send the camp directors speaking about their son’s experience here. It is literally unbelievable.

It is rare that we do work that is so obviously significant and meaningful. It is rare that we are so overwhelmed by the connection we have to a community.

My cabin devotion was about leadership and unity tonight. I wanted to give the kids something simple and powerful to set the tone for the week. I won’t share entire thing, but I want to share the Bible verse I read:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falls; for he hath not another to help him up.

I must’ve read it like ten times. Woe to him that is alone when he falls; for he has not another to help him up.

Most people know that I’m not overly religious, but that is pretty good stuff. I’m not a sunday school buff either, but there was once a time when I read a lot of books and I actually read most of the Bible….so at least I have an idea of how to relate a message to scripture…otherwise devotions would be pretty difficult.

I am excited about the summer and hope I don’t run out of energy. Kids can eat you up. I learned that in Taiwan.

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