When we found out who was going to be on our assignment team at Carolina Point, we started pinching ourselves. Our assignment has been over for a month now and I’m still pinching myself that we got to spend three weeks with one another. We learned, laughed, played, grew, worked together, tried new things, encountered hundreds of kids and leaned on the Lord in ways that were new to all of us. It was stunning, to say the least.
I have had the privilege of sifting through photos from our time at Carolina Point, including our first ever Capernaum week there. We have hundreds of photos, well over a thousand from our time. Each one tells a different story, all worthy to be remembered, told again, celebrated and told again.
Yet one comes back to my mind and heart regularly.
The entire camp is in the brand new zero-entry level pool at camp, for the Pool Dance Party. The pool was built with all of our Capernaum friends in mind, so this moment of every one of them being in the pool was one that had been dreamt about for years. Even the man that designed and built the pool came out for it. The perimeter of the pool was filled with empty wheelchairs. There were sixty Young Life leaders either in the pool or helping at the diving board. The Assignment Team encircled the pool. Every noodle and flotation device known to man was in the pool. There was a long line of friends waiting for their moment on the diving board. Friends who are typically in wheelchairs, were going off the board in the arms of their YL leader. Tim and Katie (two of our program directors) were on the mics, cheering on our friends and announcing who was up next. A crowd of friends in the pool, waited and watched and cheered for each person as they jumped. It didn’t matter what the jump looked like. It wasn’t about grace or elegance or perfection. It was about friendship and value and celebration and being together.
Thankfully as I look at this picture, I am reminded that God constantly gives us the grace to learn, time and again, that our friends with disabilities have great lessons for us. That life is about friendship, value, celebration, community and an honest embrace of God’s love for us…thankfully not perfection or elegance.
If each picture has a lesson or reminder in it, I have 999 more to soak into my heart.