We're going where? … For how many days?" I nearly choked when my mom suggested we spend a week at a summer camp just for families. There was no way I wanted to spend part of my summer at any kind of camp.
As you've already guessed, I'm definitely not into camps. I'd take a king-size bed and room service over a bunk bed and powdered scrambled eggs any day. My idea of roughing it usually doesn't involve dirt, bark or bugs.
OK, so our cabin didn't have dirt. Or bark. But it did have mosquitoes. The first night I dropped into my bunk with the sound of a whole horde of them buzzing around my head. I pulled my covers over me in a futile effort to fight off an attack. I knew this was going to be the most miserable week of my whole summer vacation.
The next morning I woke up scratching at several welts, courtesy of my flying friends. As I labored to pull on my shorts and T-shirt, my parents said, all too cheerfully, "Come on, Christy! Let's go out and have some fun!" I just rolled my eyes and watched as they and my brother and sister hurried out the screen door.
There I was, all alone, sulking my morning away. Of course, sulking isn't much fun if you can't make somebody else miserable. So about midday I decided to at least go for a walk. I put on a pair of tennis shoes, grabbed my Walkman, and slipped out the door.
As I wandered down the dirt path that circled the property, I began to notice the natural surroundings for the first time. Large, leafy trees towered over the path, creating patches of shady relief from the sizzling sun. A soft breeze made tiny ripples as it blew across the lake.
As I took in the beauty around me, I began to think about my less-than-great attitude. Sure, camp's not my thing, I thought. But that doesn't mean I can't learn to like it.
Suddenly, I found myself smiling. I was ready to at least try to have a little fun. And my change in attitude actually worked.
During the next few days, I learned to square dance. I battled it out on the sand volleyball courts with my brother and sister. And I spent some quiet time with the Lord, studying the Word in the midst of his incredible creation.
A week later, snuggled under the covers of my own bed, I thought about camp. I also thought about all the great times I had there. And it was all because of a little change in attitude, and a willingness to try something new.
But I still don't miss those mosquitoes!
This fall, Christy will begin her junior year at the University of Evansville in Indiana.
1998 by the author or Christianity Today/Campus Life magazine. For reprint information call 630-260-6200.