I have this alter ego that if you are new to my life, you don't really know about. It's not the one I referred to in the previous post...though I guess now that you know about her too we should talk about multiple personalities...another time...
I have always [well always might be a strong word, I should just say since growing up; but then ago, I kind of think I have always felt grown up - I digress] felt this pull on my heart to be these two people that never seemed to meld. One was serious and driven and professional, that part of me that drove me to succeed in school, to make my bed even when my mom wasn't looking, to get a good job, to make a training calendar for myself for my first 1/2 marathon and give myself stickers when I finished each bench mark (yes, it's true - sheesh, I can't believe I tell these things on here). The other grew up at camp since she was 10; was relaxed, taught outdoor living, led highschool girls on the Appalachian Trail, takes pride in her fire building skills, and would pay money to kick back in jeans and a t-shirt every day. For 23 years I wondered how I would ever meld these two people into one. Not just camp-girl in the summer and school-girl during the year, but somehow, both all the time.
Then I moved to Asheville to start Grad School. To say the least it didn't really go down how I planned, but it turned out to be the beginning of the best part of my life. I lived in the mountains with amazing friends, I breathed that life in day in and day out. I drove up that mountain for school and came back down to my home. And that summer, I stepped out on a huge limb. I was feeling confident, getting healthy, and needing a fresh start. From the time I was 10 I spent my summers at Ridgecrest Summer Camps as a camper. From the time I was 16 I spent my summers there as a counselor or director. 7 years later, it was time for a change. I spent my summer at Windy Gap, a Young Life camp outside of Asheville as one of 11 interns for the summer. I should have had a clue about how the summer would go when 'some girl' pulled up to camp in my same car, with the same shirt and belt on, and shared my love of Wheat Thins dipped in whipped cream cheese [seriously people, you are missing out on life if you haven't tried this...] That girl and was in my wedding and is now one of my very best friends, my twin, and a pea in the pod of my life. But I had no idea.
These 11 people became my family, the best of my friends; some amazing and truly divine and blessed connection formed instantly and I have never since been the same. It was that summer that the two halves of myself found harmony and I found balance. I laughed and felt more at home in my own skin more that summer than in most of the years of my life leading up to that time. It was the summer of 2004, and we were the best interns Windy Gap will ever have. It'strue, just ask them.
We come from New York, LA, Virginia, Atlanta,Knoxville, Charlotte, Columbia, Asheville and Greenville. Since then, we have gotten together for 2 impromptu reunions, a ruined-surprise birthday(yes that's right, the surprise was ruined just minutes before and people had flown in from all over the country for it), Terry & I's wedding, and most recently this weekend for another wedding; and one more next month. 11/12 of us have been together every time one way or another. But this Christmas, we will be rolling 12 for 12 deep plus 3 new spouses who have been welcomed with open arms. I cannot contain my excitement.
I am blessed beyond words when I spend time with these friends. They fill my soul, bring me to life, and show me love in every word, laugh and precious second of time we spend together. Their hands, words and actions molded and changed me in ways they will never know, and at the end of our summer together I had become more like the person I had always striven to be. And I trusted for the first time, in a long time, that in faith, change is good, and these friends were the fruit of that promise.