Last November, with young people from around Province IV of the Episcopal Church (think SEC country), I had the privilege of visiting the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN. In a more profound way than I ever remember before (I grew up in rural Upstate New York), the atrocious and triumphant stories of individuals and communities standing up for justice and freedom came to life. A friend of mine from Mississippi who was with the group shared her father’s stories of segregation and injustice in his school as a child. Never before had I realized just how recent and palpable the American civil rights movement is.
While on a different coast and with a different mission, the Camp Stevens story came to life for me today over lunch. At 93 and a half as she’s quick to point out, Mary Maud Sadler’s memory is impeccable and her determination, joy, and kindness is infectious.
Wearing running shoes and a San Diego Padres cap, Mary Maud shared the story of Camp Stevens’ inception with pride. Together with his friend Fr. Lax, The Rev. Boone Sadler (Mary Maud’s husband) founded Camp Stevens in Julian after involvement with other diocesan camp programs 60 years ago. It is one thing to read the linear history of a place, but another to hear it first-hand from a woman who lived it – it was as if she breathed life into the history of this place like the dry bones received breath in Isaiah.
This is the power of story told from one person to another. Stories connect. They provide insight into a person or community’s passions. They share history, ritual, reason, and knowledge. They breathe life.
I encourage you today and every day to tell and listen to stories. Listen to the story of a child. Tell the story of your day. Learn the story of the tree in your front yard. I am certain they will connect, teach, and breath new life.
Whim: “sudden idea.” This weekly post promises a number of things: personal thoughts and reflections, showing off Camp Stevens’ programs and staff, announcements for upcoming opportunities, and answering questions or responding to comments “from the audience.” If you have a topic or question you’d like addressed, just e-mail Beth!