Friends. Yes and Yes. I am drinking coffee right now for the first time in over two weeks. Like I have said before, coffee is the lifeblood that fuels that hearts of champions. Today, I am being a champion.
I started this blog last summer with the intent of letting friends and family follow me as I adventured across the wonderful country of Thailand. But, the Lord had some bigger plans for the blog and before long, this became a place for me to download the influx of ideas spinining out of control in my mind. And before I knew it, I had a few blogs carrying the title of A Bigger Picture. These were spaced out between regular updates and were just some huge ideas God was growing in me during the storm of last Christmas and whatnot. Well, my little adventure climaxed on top of a mountain Mae Ai, Thailand where I had the privilege of baptizing students in a small fountain. The last year has been amazing. I have fought my battles and seen my hard times, but for the most part, these past twelve months have been full of joy and laughter and cycling. So wonderful. Well, in a previous post, I mentioned the Lord was taking me back to the place I thought healed and was calling me to finish what was started and fully become the man he desires.
So, here we are. Surrounded by children. And my journey begins again. I hope you will continue to track with me over the next month or so as I hope to write a series of posts of how the learning is stretching me here in Branson. So, let’s Be Like Kids and learn to become men.
The Home of the Brave.
Kids say the darndest things. Kids do the most amazing things. And sometimes, ever now and again, you see a reflection of yourself in the heart of a little one and something inside of you stirs. Some unknown emotion rolls over like a leviathan in the ocean and for a brief moment, you are a kid again. Last week, a kamper from barn one taught me a little bit about courage.
His name is John Seay. He is seven years old, has red hair and a gap in his front teeth. He gets excited when he talks and has a hard time getting the words out. He will make your heart melt. Although John wasn’t in my barn, we had plenty of fun fighting slew monsters, doing flips in the pool, riding water slides, and playing catch during football klinic. Then one night, he made me so proud, I think my heart literally did a jig dance.
At Kamp, we have parties (well, every night because were are awesome) with a certain theme every couple of nights. We had Amigos, Amigos, Amigos, Swashbucklers Delight, Old School, and the Holiday Party. The Old School was to be our water party. Right next to our Kamp is the Kanakuk family Kamp and it has some awesome water slides and a lazy river. So, we took our kiddos over there to get krunk in the lazy river before we dressed up like the elderly and “kicked it old school.” Well, I was working a certain station and look across the pool to see John Seay standing on the blob tower, staring down a ten foot jump. The look on his face could only be described as terror. He walked to the end, shaking at the knees. Then he turned around and headed back the the ladder to climb down. (The whole time I’m watching this, kids are trying to use the rings and I’m not paying any attention to them and getting punched in the back for it…) He walked half way back, screwed up his face, and headed back to stare down the jump. This time he got to the end, and bent his knees in preparation for the jump, stood back up and headed to the ladder.
By now, the whole pool was watching. John repeated the process over and over and over. Bending his knees to jump then standing up in a fear, ringing his hands. After several minutes of this, kids and counselors alike were starting to shout, “John, John, John…” And before I knew it, the two hundred people were chanting his name. I could only watch in silence…
John gazed around the pool in wide-eyed excitement at the sound of his name being chanted over and over. He walked to then end and bent his knees to jump. Nothing. Then went to jump again. Nothing. Knees bent. Nothing. The chanting swelled. John bent his knees. Nothing.
Then it happened. In one brief moment John was free falling. He hit the blob, bounced in the air and slid down the side into the pool. He floated to the top whooping and hollering like a man set free. Smiling from ear to ear. He melted my heart. All I could do was stare.
And it occured to me, John might have shown more courage in that one moment then I have in years. He literally slayed the giant, conquered his fear and came out having been set free. I realized then, this is what it means to be a man. It’s about staring down the enemy, conquering fear, and diving in. But, what is so beautiful about it, people are watching, shouting my name. Watching silently, hoping. Those who have gone before are urging you to take a leap. Attack the giant. Be brave.
But the reality is while this story is heart warming, blob towers aren’t scary. For some of us, they might even be boring. But we all have a tower or mountain in our life which needs conquering. Maybe it’s a phone conversation. A career change. A come to Jesus time. Or the top step of the podium. Whatever it may be, masculinity is defined by the courage we can find within ourselves to conquer the deepest fears. And swim to the top, like John Seay, whooping with the joy of being set free. It may be deep. It may be a long fall. And honestly, it probably will hurt. But, I think freedom may just be worth it.
What are you afraid of? It’s time to jump…
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Party. Laugh. Love.
(look out now…)
(Well friends, I have pictures. But, I forgot my USB cable. I’ll figure something out. Next time!)