Leaving the comfort of this city where everything is tangible will be a refreshing
experience for me. I climb aboard and find a seat. The busload of smiling, ecstatic high
school students sings silly songs in unison as we do every year, for this carefree spirit
swept over us the moment we arrived at the church. I look over at some of the greatest
friends I could ever have; we have been coming to this place since we were naïve, prideful,
selfish. We have grown, though, to expect a week void of society’s superficial pressures.
We expect real, raw, and genuine emotion to expose itself amidst these hundreds of acres
of nature, amidst this blank canvas of a campground.
We exit I-20. It’s such an overwhelming thought, to have just exited; reality and
anxiety set in upon us as we realize just how close we are. Fields of tall grasses encompass
our views from the windows of this bus. Horses gallop through these fields as though life
is easy, beautiful, painless. We watch these horses and envy their lives; if only we could
experience such freedom. Onward we travel: over the train tracks, through downtown, and
finally, into the state park. The road turns to gravel and we know we are so close.
The bus weaves through the dirt roads, and clouds of dust consume the air. The
campsite is now within view. Anxious thoughts jade my excitement as we approach the
waiting counselors. I wonder, how can such an obscure, simplistic setting overwhelm my
heart with such emotional intensity? I look around at the group of young people in this bus
– people who are broken, hurting, seeking a purpose in life, wishing God would grant them
the serenity and strength they need to persevere – and I know why.
We are here. I muster the strength to stand up. My heart beats rapidly; it’s my
nerves, of course. A rush of adrenaline absorbs my anxiety and pride as I enter this familiar
place, seeking out the faces of those whom I had built relationships with years before. And
I think, the incredible feeling of God’s love is what transforms this mundane campsite into
something so beautiful.
Camp Rutledge was transformed into a beautiful, sacred piece of art. Unhindered
spirit enlivened the barren softball field, fostering silly cheers, competitive play, and
teamwork. We molded our rustic dining hall into a site for nights of dancing, skits, and
games. God unveiled his masterpiece by the end of the week; we, an eclectic group of
teenagers, discovered what it truly means to set aside our pressures and pain to relish
the simplicity of life. We arrived at this empty, desolate setting only to leave an eternal
impression, to make this blank canvas our masterpiece, with God holding the paintbrush
and beautifying our memories as we made them.
Colleges Sent ToEdit
College of Charleston: accepted