Two of my grandchildren and their mother, who served as the Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center (LOMC) summer camp nurse, came home last week, but not my thirteen-year-old granddaughter who stayed an extra week to tour eleven churches performing the songs and choreography she learned the previous week. I told my granddaughter she was very brave to stay an extra week at camp by herself as we rode back home after watching and listening to her final performance.
“You are very brave” was a favorite affirmation uttered by a friend of mine who said them with soft solemnity and a smile. I got to know her on a trip to the Sylvania Wilderness into which she and her husband led family groups. She spoke those words more than once and later wrote them in a letter to me after I published my memoir God Never Hurries. I loved hearing and reading that support from her.
Listening to and watching my granddaughter’s 2013 Swing Choir performance took me back to when I traveled with my former church choir to sing in churches across Germany. In my memoir I wrote, It was as if you could hear the voice of God within us singing. I believe the deep bonds formed by my granddaughter’s choir over the past two weeks was because their voices lifted for peace not war, love not hate, and acceptance not rejection of the other. It was the voice of God and is why it was so hard for these young people to part and go their separate ways after that final performance.
Ironically my granddaughter was quite sure she did not want to go to this summer camp and now can’t wait to return next year. It is so like God, to present us with learning opportunities we would rather pass up but ultimately prove to be for the best. What if the next time you see someone doing something courageous you tell him or her, “You are very brave,” with a smile.