I didn't leave you forever. I've just been busy. And tired. Really tired.
But I'm still here, waiting to be inspired. Waiting for something to write. But nothing amazing seemed to happen for a while, so I have just been waiting. And waiting. And waiting.
You know that feeling, don't you? That emptiness -- that loneliness -- that comes with waiting? If there is a Hell, I'm sure it will not be a pit of fire; it will be a waiting room. Or the line at the DMV. Nevertheless, it will be a feeling of doom, underscored by the lilting insanity of elevator music and boredom.
But today, I was asked to list the interesting things I've done this summer. (It was the first day back to school for teachers, and, inevitably, whether you are 13 or 35, this is the first assignment. Teachers... we never change.) I panicked as I stared across at someone who I knew had traveled and lounged and done "interesting" things for the past 2 months. What would I say? "I worked. At camp. I slept a coma-like sleep on every break." Believe me, exhausted comas do not equal "lounging". It took me a few minutes, but I eventually came up with a couple of answers. I still wasn't happy, and the question nagged at me the entire drive home. It itched my brain while I shopped for sneakers, waited on my take-out, and priced refrigerators online.
Only now, hours later, do I realize what I wish I'd said.
- I worked at camp. All summer. It was exhausting and stressful.
- I worked at camp. All summer. It was exhilarating and full of renewal.
- I watched my best friend's son spend his first 2 nights at camp. He only stopped loving his counselor, activities, and friends long enough to hug me twice. Well... once. I stole the second, fair and square.
- I saw my favorite campers -- kids I've known since they were 8 -- graduate from the C.I.T. program and then come back as junior counselors.
- I spent 49 days working alongside my third generation of camp friends. They are the most dedicated, supportive, and talented groups of people I've encountered in a long time. Well... since my 2nd generation at least.
- I watched children from all over the world -- literally, from Mexico to the Czech Republic to England to China -- fall in love with the magic of camp.
- I laughed. My God, I laughed.
- I cried. My God, I cried.
- I busted kitchen raids.
- I narrowly escaped the clutches of Grandaddy Raccoon during one of his late night dumpster dives.
- I lured the camp dog out for a swim in the lake -- much to the delight of the canoeing class.
- I sang beautiful songs, with wonderful friends, on a gentle breeze by the light of a dying campfire.
- I sang loud and silly songs, with wonderful friends and giggling children by the roar of a fresh fire.
- I saw children become more than a stereotype.
- I saw children without a home find the home they never expected.
- I witnessed friendships forged, stronger than steel, and bridges burn with the spark of regret.
- A circle completed itself as one of my campers from my cabin at grief camp became a counselor at the same camp, fifteen years later. Her healing helped to heal another cabin of litle girls.
- I waved goodbye to one friend to finish his bachelor's degree, one to finish his doctorate, and one to ready her very first classroom.
- I prayed that they won't be gone for long.
- I spent far too long from another best friend's children this summer, only to be welcomed back into their home with squeals and giggles and kisses from their grown-up faces.
- Just days ago, I saw another friend's son, one of my favorite miracles, walk to me with steps that were never guaranteed.
- I cried about that one too.
- And I read. I read 14 books this summer, and I've got about 24 more on the stack.