It’s been more than twenty years since I first began attending Special Days Camp at Blowing Rock Conference Center. I can’t even recall how I was first invited. I think Janelle Bunn might have something to do with my first summer camp experience; but I’m not sure. I only know once I went that first time, I never wanted to miss a week! I call my time there my spiritual chiropractic event because I am always adjusted back to the person I want to be. I know God will always show up there. I know my heart will open. I know I will be accepted and loved. I know I will find myself again.
The campers are kind, patient with one another, grateful, and so expressive of their love with each other, with me that I find myself slowing down, learning their important lessons. I find myself singing and smiling and excited to be in their company. And on my way home, after the week, after the sharing, after the laughter and joy, I find myself thinking…this is what it is to be truly human, to be authentic, to be a person of faith. This is what it is to live in love.
Martha Shore is the key person to this week coming together and actually happening. She is what has kept this camp going for so many years and it’s easy to see that she loves Special Days as much, maybe even more, than I do. I am so grateful for her dedication to this event, her tireless effort to make sure the camp is safe, the campers treated with love and respect and given the time of their lives. She is also a part of my spiritual adjustment experience. She reminds me of what commitment looks like.
COVID took so much from everyone; and those who attend Special Days every year have suffered more than most. Even this summer we had to cancel after only one day together and it broke many hearts. However, even in that great disappointment, no real joy was lost. No sorrow stood in the way of their love and acceptance. This group continues to teach me, inspire me, keep me connected to God and to my own soul.
Sometimes when I struggle with discouragement, sometimes when the world feels heavy and the work seems slow and unyielding, sometimes when I lose my way, I close my eyes and recall a time at Special Days. I think about the talent show and the great enthusiasm of talent shared among friends, I think about meal lines and the hugs I get at the dessert table. I think about the devotions and the singing and the jokes. I think about the dance on our last night together. And even though I am in New Mexico and so very far away from my spiritual chiropractor, I feel myself loosen, the muscles relax, the bones of my faith straighten, and I remember love. And that is enough to carry me until the week in June when I will return to Blowing Rock, when I will be adjusted back into the person I long to be.