Of camps I never knew

Had I chosen to not go for the camp, as so tempted I was by a dissenting voice within, I might never have learnt how dearly these camps meant to some people.

I have never enjoyed camps. And even when I did, it wasn’t because of some emancipative effort of the camp’s programs but rather simply the friends with whom I could have fun. I hence saw little point in such camps other than the bonds of friendship they breed. So naturally, when I was asked to help out in one such similar camp, I was reluctant. In agreeing, I would only have acquiesced to the fulfilling of a responsibility. The desire to actually serve would be lacking.

Then on one of the nights, I spoke to a friend whom seemed distressed by the general lackluster of the camp’s organizing committee (though not by every team). He lamented how in past, when he was a participant, there always seemed to be an air of camaraderie, a closeness of the team, as if it were really one big, loving family. Yet now, some of the teams were unmotivated. They carried out their duties bounded by heavy shackles; zeal lacking, heart distracted, motive translucent. Immediately, I felt guilty. Did I not agree to this without that all-important willingness, and did I not peruse the schedule in the manner of a book-keeper leafing dreadfully and wearily through the day’s sales record?

I realized then how selfish I had been in being this childish self. Though I may not possess the greatest ardor, the least I could do was to be serious about what was tasked to me. And though those tasks may not seem to me to be of tremendous importance, it was no good reason for me to slump myself against a wall and murmur apathetically, palpably apathetically, towards the final sentence. I realized that my task was not solely an expression of my willingness but rather a puzzle piece which if carved well, will form with the rest a magnificent painting. And if I, in all my persistence, refused to carve well that small piece, then the painting would never be completed, and I would’ve single-handedly ruined it for everyone else whom had devoted their time and labor to the camp. I had ruined it for my friend. And it was unfair that I should be allowed to live so selfishly.

Strangely enough, I had prayed early on in the camp that God would turn this seemingly insipid experience into something fruitful. But secretly, I convinced myself that nothing was going to come out it since I have been to so many and not once was I touched in a measurable manner. And sure enough, God answered. Here is my lesson which I shall resolve to take along with me when I volunteer again to serve.

I guess I too have to thank that friend for enlightening me in an area which, in my cold, clouded world of reason, I could never have seen.


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