Friday, October 22, 2010

Breaking the Silence

Today, I'm breaking my blogging silence. In my head, I've been breaking my blogging silence for about three months now, but I realize that does no good for those of you who aren't in my head... which is all of you. So, here it is.

It's a story, actually. It starts with a young girl who had just finished her Freshman year of college going to a new place with only one other person she knew (and him only a little bit). Fourteen hours north of her hometown, she went to the North Woods to counsel at a Christian youth camp for two months, with no cell phone, only one hour of internet time a day, and a dream of seeing a moose.

When this girl got to the North Woods, she fell in love with the natural beauty surrounding her. She fell in love with (most of) the other counselors she was to be working with. She fell in love with her cabin (Cabin 3, even though it smelled like a weird maple syrup sometimes). And she eventually fell in love with absolutely everything else.

Despite the incredible number of loved things this post could be about, I'm narrowing it down (just in case you missed it, I'm the girl in the story). This post is about one of the two directors whose love kept me going throughout my three years as a counselor: Scott McEndree.

I honestly don't remember when I first met Scott. If I was to venture a guess, I would say it was probably about Sunday at 10:00 am right before the first week of Teen Camp. At this point, I had been at Flaming Pine Youth Camp for a week, going through counselor training, so I was comfortable. However, our first counselor meeting with Mr. McEndree found me as the proud caretaker of twelve 16-year-old girls, putting me in my place. It was Scott's first time directing Teen Camp, and he was armed with wonderful things, including a t-shirt for the Bible award winners from the session. At a camp where t-shirts aren't guaranteed, this was HUGE. Most importantly, he was armed with love and energy, ready to take on the two-week marathon that is Teen Camp.

At that point in my life, I acted like I knew I would be amazing at counseling, but I didn't really know that any more than anyone knows they'll be amazing at something before they've shown themselves and the world that they can be. That was a confusing sentence that basically translates to "I wasn't sure about anything other than my name for that first session." Having Scott in my corner gave me the courage to keep going that year. He acted as mediator when I had trouble with another counselor, as cheerleader when I felt like I was failing, and as friend when I just needed someone to care. The third year I counseled, Scott had finished his final round of chemo from his second bout with cancer two weeks before camp, and he still came. His courage and perseverance as a director gave me the courage and perseverance I often needed during Teen Camp (it's not easy, you know).

His beautiful wife and amazing children were always a bright spot in my weeks up at camp. The way Bonita interacts with her kids always left me in awe of how effective a soft-spoken word to well-behaved children can be. One of my favorite memories of Scott and his kids was the time we were standing in the Togo Dome when Mac and Rhone entered. They came running to Scott yelling, "Daddy, daddy, daddy!" hugging him before running to play basketball or something like that. As they ran off, Scott got a wistful look in his eye, and I asked him what was wrong. "Someday, they won't be that excited to see me," he answered.

Scott passed away one year ago today. The man who was determined that I get married someday because I "would make a great mom," the man who often mortally embarrassed me by making comments to his friend Kyle about me, the man who gave me hope for obnoxious boys everywhere (claiming that he had once been one, and I needn't worry), the man who believed that I was a great counselor, died after a long battle with cancer. I was blessed to get to see him the January before on a trip to Minnesota for Harding. I got to stay up late and talk with him and Bonita before I headed back to Arkansas the next morning, and it was fantastic. He had just been diagnosed with cancer for the third time, but he was just as wonderful as always. It was great to get to see the McEndrees in a different setting than camp. They took me upstairs to see the kids' rooms where Scott had built this AMAZING structure to serve as playground/bed. Basically, totally the room I would have wanted as a kid, second only to the PINK walls and bunk bed I actually had.

Scott is home. And while this post isn't everything I want it to be (not even close), it IS about a wonderful man who I love and miss. A wonderful man who many love and miss. It is such a blessing to know Who is in charge of this crazy world.


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