~Ludwig van Beethoven
Back in the summer of 1998, I volunteered at a Christian camp in a little town called Glen Spey in New York. Those of you in Young Life circles may recognize the name of the camp as Lake Champion. It was an idyllic summer, my first away from home, and I passed my days sleeping in the dorm, answering phones in the office, and mingling with other like-minded folks. I had just turned nineteen and I had my whole life before me.
I met some truly wonderful folks that summer, bonding with the other college and high school-aged staff who had given up a month of their summer to facilitate the running of this camp so that teenagers could come and hear about who Jesus is. Of course, we all promised to write and stay in touch, but without social media sites such as Facebook, that proved harder than we thought it would be. Over the years, I lost touch with every single person that I lived and worked with that summer.
Except one. I remember the first time I ever talked to Chris-- he was sitting on a bench by the rock-climbing wall. It was my first day of camp, and I walked over and introduced myself. As our conversation progressed, I asked him how he had become a Christian, to which he replied, "I'm not." I was duly shocked, as it was a requirement to work at the camp. I resolved to pray for him, and over the month, we became friends although I was grouped in with the college-age workers and he was still in high school.
On the last day of camp, I hugged him tightly and said goodbye. He was heading back to California and I thought I would never see him again.
Years passed; I finished college and moved to New York City. I had initially kept in touch with Chris, but, in time, that had died down. Then, one day, I asked the girls in my Bible study to write down their summer addresses for me, and I noticed that one girl lived in the same town as my former friend, Chris. Of course, I had to ask her if she knew him, and in the craziest coincidence, it turned out that she has dated his younger brother!
|Photos taken in the photo booth at Lakeside Lounge. On the left (circa July 2007) are me, Chris, and his friend, Colin. We had a hilarious time that night! The photos on the right are from September 11, 2010.|
Chris and I have been in touch since then, although long periods of time go by between emails. Three times he has been on the east coast, and each time, we make a point to meet up. He was in New York two weeks ago (en route to South Africa, where he was going to volunteer at an orphanage), and we spent a wonderful day catching up. Old friends are truly a blessing, and I am so thankful that God has put Chris in my life.
This post is dedicated to all of my friends scattered across the four corners of the earth. I sincerely hope that we shall meet again. "Never shall I forget the days I spent with you. Continue to be my friend, as you will always find me yours."