You ever walk into a room and realize everything you prepared for over the past week wasn’t going to work? Well that was me today. My first clue was when I pulled down the long driveway of the YMCA Camp Campbell Guard and I say to myself, “I have totally overdressed”. I should have stayed in my Capri jeans and casual shirt. What was I thinking? It has “Camp” in the title Julie.
The camp was beautiful. Driving past the big lake I saw turkeys on my left and a deer crossed my path from the right. I checked in at the office, as the sign suggested, and was directed to the dining hall. I parked my car and walked in the back entrance through the kitchen.
Entering the dining area I see a small group of people watching a video on a projection screen; four young men and two women. The program director (not sure if that is the correct title) approached me and we embraced. We talked a brief moment and then we join the small group and continued watching the video on the screen. One by one the young men got up and introduced themselves. “Hi, I am Patrick”, “Robert”, “Hi, Evan”. Each of them returned to their seats, but one young man never came over to introduce himself.
You could tell it had been a long day. As I watched them squirm in their seats it reminded me of my boys. This made me smile, but I also asked myself, “What am I ever going to say that will help these young men?”
As the video wrapped up I asked if we could all go outside. It was such a beautiful day. Fresh air would do us all some good, I thought to myself. We stepped outside and sat around a picnic table. Evan sat on the swing with the director and everyone else sat around the picnic table. Eventually Evan and the director made their way over to the table.
As I started to read from my book, it didn’t flow as good as I thought it would. I was trying not to read verbatim and I was also trying not to bore four young men. I put down my pages and started speaking from the heart. It never did come out as smoothly as I had hoped for, but somewhere in my story it sparked the young man who had never said a word up until then, other than when I asked him for his name, “Deangelo”.
Deangelo starting talking about how he could relate to what I was saying and he began to share his story. Here was this quite hard looking young man with tears streaming down his face, trying so hard not to let them flow and sharing his story with me. I was quite, everyone was quite. We all listened so intently. You could feel compassion swirling around the trees. You could feel understanding coming up through the ground, pushing against our feet. He told me he believes in forgiveness. “I ain’t going to lie, it’s hard, but I am trying”, Deangelo said.
I couldn’t do the normal call John on the way home because my phone was dead. It was a good thing. I really needed to process what just happened. When I got home I walked in the door and John and Joey are standing in the kitchen. John asked how it went and I began to tell him and Joey every detail. Joey said, “Pretty cool kid. I would like to hang out with him” John said, “It sounds like your perfect situation. You touched the life of one”. I started crying and said, “That is enough right?” Yes, Julie “That is enough”.
The event didn’t go as I expected, but I bet it did go as God intended. I thought over all I was a hot mess, but really I was a blessed hot mess. I was blessed by everyone engaging in the conversation, I was blessed to be invited to speak to these young men and I was blessed that Deangelo shared his story with me.
By the way, I googled Deangelo and this is what it said, Deangelo in American means “From the angel”