Every summer when I was younger I would go to a summer camp. Every summer I would pack my suitcase a week early, plan my activities, and pack my snacks. I would count down the days.
Sunday morning, in the last week of June, we would head down to the most beautiful part of Texas. The car ride to this place would always take forever. I knew this trip so well, every major landmark, the stop where my parents would get some gasoline, every hill, every store, every smell. And as we would approach the entrance to this place my heart would skip a beat and insurmountable amounts of joy would be emoted in my every word and movement.
The registration line was the first step, with the dreaded lice check, but the incredible opportunity of cabin-picking. My friends and I would run down the hill to our cabin to meet our counselors who were tired from a summer of heat and hyper-energized kids but still made us feel welcome.
This place, this summer camp, was home.
I would eventually transition from being a camper to a counselor. I was now living in this place that I believed angels roamed, and where only love was felt.
After several years of friendships made, camp-outs, and star gazes, the camp was shut down.
I was devastated. This place held important memories of my childhood! Years of memories had made this place special. By the end of that summer the summer camp staff was tired and sad.
But the next year there was an awakening of spirits— There would be a brand new summer camp, and it was up to us, the staff, to recreate the magic of previous years for this year’s campers. The facility was a little rough, and the treks from station to station were really treks, but somehow, with everyone’s determination, the campers had an amazing time. Upon leaving, I had the same feeling of nostalgia and desire to come back.
So, then, was it the place that was home to me? It was this experience that taught me how it wasn’t the place that was home to me, but it was the people.
With this group of people, I could be myself. They accepted me just the way I was, and yet encouraged me to grow and change in Christ. Through their unconditional love, I came to realize that this was what it must be like to be with Jesus and heaven. The place simply introduced me to this community and this feeling. The place is where I felt that sense of just belonging, openness, and love.
So, what is home? For me, home is a decision to accept and also to be accepted.
So, now it’s your turn. What does home mean to you? How does it look? Feel? Sound? Think about it carefully. Pray about it constantly. And show us what home means to you through your artwork. We invite you to register for our first ever Passion Project. Submit your short stories, visual art, and photography.
If you have any questions, just send an email to email@example.com.
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