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Summertime, Wednesday's Whim

We must love

We have a vital job at summer camp that goes beyond adventure, fun, and self-discovery: we must love.

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In a world and in a country that is hurting; where hatred and violence are celebrated; where racism persists; where our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQI+ community fear name-calling, abuse, and murder; where power and women are abused and where men are held to unrealistic expectations; where mental illness continues to be taboo; where shame and blame prevail; and where the messages of fear are often louder than love, WE MUST LOVE.

I don’t kid myself into believing that prayer, which I do believe in, and love, which I aim to practice, is all it would have taken to save the lives of those joyfully celebrating at Pulse nightclub Sunday morning before their world turned upside down. I believe more must be done, and I urge you to do whatever is in your heart toward creating a more peaceful, just, and kind society. Give blood. Write your Senator. Lobby, picket, cry, teach kindness to your children, and donate to worthy causes. Do something.

But don’t forget love. Do all of these things in the name of love.

Rachel Carson wrote “if I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later years, the alienation from the sources of our strength.”

Just days from the bloodshed in Orlando, which is itself one incident in a long line of many, and just around the corner to the first day of summer camp, my request of that good fairy would be a certainty of love so indestructible that it would last throughout life as an unfailing antidote against the pain and bitterness that acts as an alienator from community, openness, connection, gratitude, and wonder in later years.

Spread love. Teach love. Do love. Be love.

Set clear boundaries. Call out hatred, meanness, name-calling, and abuse. Seek to transform unjust structures of society in ways that rattle the status quo. Pray. Ask for help. Maybe even flip over some goddamn tables.

We have a vital job at summer camp that goes beyond adventure, fun, and self-discovery: we must love.

We will remind over 500 young people – campers, counselors, and staff – over the next few weeks beginning Sunday with our 10-day Counselor Training program that they are loved: that I love them, that we love them, and that God loves them. We will teach reconciliation, community-building, boundaries, kindness, and collaboration. We will welcome those who are different from us by race, ethnicity, creed, orientation, or sex. We will listen, we will play, and we will love.

We must love.

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