As summer dwindles down I would be remiss if I did not blog about my trip to Echoing Hills.
Echoing Hills is a camp for the MRDD (Mentally Retarded/Developmentally Disabled) population. It's a trip that our church youth group usually takes in the summer and I thought I might tag along this year. After all, I have always had a heart for people with disabilities. Well, little did I know that working with the campers there would not be my main priority at the camp. In fact, my worse nightmare came true: I was assigned to the kitchen and cleaning crew. On the outside: Lots of nodding and smiling. On the inside: What in the world? I'm way qualified to be working with these people and would be such an asset. They want me cleaning what??? Little did I know this was just the beginning of my pride being torn to shreds.
Monday was by far the worst day. It was actually like starting a new job: nervous about getting there on time and having a TON of new things to learn. We set up for, served, and cleaned up breakfast, lunch and dinner. After breakfast we were off to clean the campers' cabins from top to bottom. Sweep and mop the floors, clean the showers, sinks and mirrors, toilets, take out the trash, restock supplies- you name it. Thank goodness for rubber gloves. After dinner there were 3 other buildings to clean and don't cha know that each one of those buildings has their own set of restrooms. Completely overwhelmed, tired and embarrassed, I called Ben in tears that night.
Tuesday things got better. I was able to grab 30 minutes to reflect and write in my journal. I thought about the chapter in Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World that I had been reading the week before I left. The author spoke about how each of us has our various spiritual giftedness, but how sometimes we can use that as a handy excuse. One example she gave rang loud and clear: "I'm an exhorter, you know- I don't do toilets!" Busted. Then I thought of the Bible. Jesus, as the King of kings washed the dirt and manure covered feet of his disciples. Busted. Service may not be my "gift", but it's certainly something I need to be willing to do if Jesus is who I'm looking at as an example.
Needless to say, I learned some very valuable lessons. Servant hood is the obvious one. Who am I to be resentful of serving others food and taking care of their every need and demand without getting paid? Who am I to be think I'm too good to clean someone else's toilet? I have always prayed to be broken of my pride, so in actuality, this was an answer to prayer. Another thing I discovered was my desire to be free. There were many occasions when music would be playing and the campers would dance so freely. Cheesy as it may be, they lived out the phrase "Dance like no body's watching". Why can't I do that? I thought. I live such a self-conscious life and it is such a burden. I want the freedom that those campers had.
If I have the opportunity I will go back. But next time, hopefully God won't have to re-teach these lessons that I have learned. As I wrote in my journal that week, "Sara, don't forget what this feels like".