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Monday, November 13, 2006

Thank You Camp Lake Stephens

August 29, 2005 changed my life.
It’s hard to use the word ‘changed’ because words such as ‘ruined,’ ‘destroyed,’ or even ‘ended’ seem worlds more appropriate. On that Monday I came face to face with fears that in my real life were only distant whispers and other fears that I had never imagined. Everyone I loved was impacted, my whole family and all my friends. Over the next few day and weeks we rolled the words ‘homeless’ and ‘unemployed’ around over again and again, in hushed voices we tried those words out on each other.
“How does one ever recover from this?” I asked myself.
The answer became blatantly obvious, one does not recover. Three, six, even ten do not recover. No, recovery comes from the efforts of many, many people; strangers who reach out simply because, and in every action, large or small, make a wave of difference.
Recovery is not an absolute; a place to be reached and once obtained becomes complete. No, recovery is slow and hard and sometimes it feels further than ever and at others it seems so close.
For me, recovery started the day my family and I left the AmeriHost Inn and arrived at Camp Lake Stephens. The support and humanity over poured from every person there.
It’s hard to work your whole life and strive for self sufficiency only to realize that without the charity of others you can not exist. Only at Lake Camp Stevens it felt more like accepting the hospitality of family then holding a hand out for strangers help.
I have tried so many times to write this letter, to express in words what my experience there meant to me.
In a time of my life where ‘lost’ and ‘abandoned’ would have been the most applicable, I found that more and more often I was being shown the face of God. When I hurt the most in those first days I found incredible peace in the rows of the outdoor chapel. Since then in my lowest time I close my eyes, envision those moments and let that peace get me through. I have a feeling it will be something I do for the rest of my life and one day I hope to visit there again.
There are no satisfactory words, no way to explain, and no thank you adequate.
Still, thank you and your families!


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