Practicing What You Believe

My son and I had the opportunity to go to a camp in New York to visit my daughter.  She was in charge of food at the camp.  What an interesting experience…

Practicing what you believe shows up in so many ways…

The camp counselors were saints committed to teaching the kids a better way, the Christian way.  They helped these underprivileged experience new things like swimming and staying out in the woods… these kids from the Bronx who had never left the city before.  They were terrified… these tough kids who had seen people die in gunfire, where the drug dealers on their block had their own spot on the sidewalk but had enough courtesy to leave the street and take a break when the kids came home from school. The counselors played psychiatrist, mom, riot police, fight referee, and spiritual guide.  Laughing, crying, shouting, anger… it all happened each day.  My daughter told me she actually jumped on top of two young men to stop them fighting…my daughter who is one of the least aggressive, kindest people in the world…they were twice her size… you’ll do quite a bit when you believe in it.

And then we saw even more…

All of the camp staff kept saying that we had to see a sight that only occurred in the night and we had to sneak through the woods to see it.  I was a little apprehensive… I don’t like to do things outside of the boundaries… but was very interested in what had captured the imagination of these young camp warriors… so we went on a hike late at night.  If you’ve never snuck through the woods at night, especially in the east where the underbrush is thick and the canopy is dense, you really don’t know what it’s like.  Scratched arms and legs, branches hitting you in the face, strange sounds filtering through the vegetation, spider webs across your path in your face… what is that sound?  People playing basketball?  We suddenly pop out into a clearing and across the way are hundreds of young men playing basketball on a lit court… late at night…wearing the dress of their religion… Hasidic Jews… black long pants, white shirts, black ties, black hats.  Why are they playing basketball this late?  In those clothes?

They were practicing what they believe and fitting into the outside world in their own way… in many ways the same as the camp counselors.

Remember, people are watching you from the woods.

Being simple means knowing and practicing what you believe…

When was the first time you realized someone was watching to see if you practiced what you believed? How did it make you feel?