Listening to a girl tell the story of losing her mother, I saw the pain wash over her face. The whole room was in a dead silence. It was a beautiful hot summer day in Oklahoma, and the week in July I had been waiting for all year was finally here. My very first trip to Falls Creek, a Christian Church camp. It was my first year going to camp and having the opportunity to make all kinds of new friends. It was mind-blowing fun, and we expected to have a great time zip lining,swimming, going on Icee (It was a date where you would take someone and buy them an Icee on the church grounds.) dates, and just generally hanging out with people our own age. You know, the typical fun things a fifteen year old does at summer camp. But you want to know what really blew my mind? I had never thought that I’d become so very close to the people in my small bible study group. One girl in particular I grew fond of, she was very unique. She had short brown hair and hazel eyes, and at times seemed unapproachable. She tended to keep to her self and maybe a very small group of friends.
“Music is medicine for the soul”
My first night at falls creek, I had my very first panic attack, and it was my very first time being away from home. I was very sheltered by my father, and was overwhelmed by the amount of people who I was actually getting to interact with. The more anxious I became, my youth pastor and his wife began to pray over me.
Eventually, I found peace and fell asleep. In my small group the next day, I was exhausted from lack of sleep and having to be up by 6:30 in the morning. We were talking about the power of prayer. We then started our 15 minutes of quiet time (Reflection time and the time to hear God speak to us.). I was sitting at a picnic table praying over my anxiety. Mirroring the table I was sitting at was another picnic table and there sat the same girl who had told her story earlier. She was writing in her journal and seemed to be praying. She finished and started coming my way. She had never talked to me before, not even in our small group. When she was coming my way, I was baffled not knowing what I was going to say or what she was going to say.
She calmly approached me and said “You look exhausted.” I pondered being offended but I could hear the sincerity in her voice. I said, “Thanks, it was a rough night.” Yeah I heard my cousin prayed with you.” It was in that moment that I realized she was the cousin of my youth pastor.
She said, “May I ask you something?” I said, “sure.” She asked, “When you get Anxiety attacks is there anything that calms you down?” I said, “Music, I love to sing.” She said, “Interesting, sing as much as you can stand to. Music is medicine for the soul.” She walked away, not saying another word.
Later that evening, was the first night of worship in our personal cabins after tabernacle. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw who was leading the worship! The same girl from my group! She began to sing and I got chills, I was really in love with music back then and her singing was something I looked forward to that whole week of camp.
I approached her after worship and we had a short conversation about how she used singing to let out all of her frustrations. She told me that singing was an escape for her, and that music is all that is beautiful in this miserable world. This girl was truly amazing at singing, so I asked if she could give me a few pointers and she agreed. We spent a lot of days together that week singing and laughing. She even listened to me open up about my hectic home life with my own dad. She told me to remain positive in my circumstances that I wouldn’t be there forever. We got so close, and I realized that I had made a friend. One night in our group meetings in the cabin, we were opening up about struggles in our lives. It Seemed like everybody had their own set of problems.
I had been down and started crying about how I missed my mom and wasn’t able to see her for six years due to my father’s loathing her. I caught a glance of a girl across the room, it was the same girl from earlier making eye contact with me. She raised her hand. ” I know what it’s like to be separated from your mother, I wish I wouldn’t have been so young, and I wish I had one more day with her. I wish I could just hug her one last time. She died a little while ago.” Seeing the pain in this girl’s face brought my heart to a dead stop.
She broke eye contact with me, and left to her room within the cabin. That entire time I felt like idiot! There I was complaining about the fact that I couldn’t see my mother (who is very much alive). As opposed to this girl who lost her mother and wouldn’t be able to see her until she reached the Gates of Heaven one day. I felt like the worse person to walk the planet.
I wanted to apologize to her the next day, and it didn’t seem to phase her. I tried a few days later to apologize again, and she still seemed uninterested.
One day I had enough of the silence and I asked her what her problem with me? She said that she didn’t have an issue and I argued that we had been getting closer. There was no reason for her to just abandon the new friendship we had created.
She told me that she was upset about me throwing a pity party for myself at the cabin. She made it her job to let me know that everyone in this cabin has their own problems. I told her that it hadn’t occurred to me and that I was sorry. I had no idea that her mother had passed away. She accepted my empathy. She told me that life just wasn’t fair and how her home life just sucked. She told me that she didn’t advertise her home life. All I could say was that I hope she’d still be my friend in from the bottom of my heart I was truly sorry. The rest of that night I felt like trash. It became so clear to me that a lot of us spend time looking at the negatives in life, that we aren’t really looking at the positives and focusing too much on the bad stuff. We honestly forget to count our blessings and be thankful for the life we have. We fail to realize, that especially teenagers, that there are people who have it worse than we do. The last night of Falls Creek, she approached me after many days of silence and gave me a hug. She told me forgiveness is important. I was apologizing as well. She stopped me and told me to leave this on a positive note. We went outside sat on the picnic table where she had first approached me and started singing songs and harmonizing together.
It was a beautiful memory, she came to the cabin and shared a song that she wrote. Every one gathered around and listened, and we all enjoyed it. This girl shined when it came to music. Music always played an important roll in our friendship, and was quite literally what brought us together. The next morning we were all ready to leave and we headed back to the church in the small town where we were from. As we got back the church, we got on the church bus to be taken home and we were the last two to be dropped off. As we pulled up to a house out in the country, she got out and I jumped out to give her a big hug. I jokingly told her that I hoped my dad didn’t keep my from church. We were both bummed that we had to go back to reality. As we parted she reminded me to stay positive, and that we only had a few more years counting down. I could see that something wasn’t right by the way her face changed as she turned to walk up her driveway. I looked up at her walking up the stairs to her from porch I noticed that she took a deep breath picked her head up and walked through the front door. I could tell by her body language that she was about to face something the minute she walked through the door.
A note from the sponsor: Seth is a great friend of mine. He and I have had a lot of hard times throughout our friendship and we’ve gotten so much closer lately! I love and appreciate these words and please share them on Facebook!
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