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Friday, September 7, 2012

Portfolio Piece #12: Summer Breeze Makes me Feel God

Trying a little something new.  Something I’ve wanted to do for a while.  For the next few days, I will be posting the pieces I submitted for my Writing Minor Portfolio.  They are all from classes I took Sophomore to Senior Year at Keene State College.  Most of them are memoir in nature, but a few are slightly different.  These are pieces I love, but know still need work.  If you would like to know more of the stories behind the pieces, let me know and I will be happy to share!  Also, any and all constructive feedback is always welcome – just because these were the final versions to be submitted doesn’t mean that they are perfect.

Oh, and also?  These are mine.  Do not steal them.  Thanks.

Summer Breeze Makes me Feel God.
Written for Theory and Practice: Memoir, Written Senior Year

It was one of those perfect sunny days.  A gentle breeze, blue sky, big fluffy white clouds everywhere.  I was walking across the field at Camp Sentinel, a Baptist camp in Tuftonboro, NH.  This was my second or third year attending Sentinel, so I must have been around 12 years old. 
            At this point in my life, I was fairly secure in my faith.  I felt like I was somehow lacking because my Biblical studies left much to be desired, but being a Minister’s daughter, it was just understood that I believe in God.  Every year at Sentinel, there was a different “Head Minister” who would determine the focus of the week.  They all blended in with me, I couldn’t tell you any of their names or what they looked like, except for this particular week, I recall he was a larger man with white hair.  I suspect many of the Ministers we had were retired.
            This particular week was all about accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savoir.  Something I assumed I already had done, since I went to church every week and prayed all the time.  I thought maybe I had missed something, and that once again my Christianity was up for debate because I hadn’t actually made this claim out loud.  But still, I pushed it aside to the corner of my brain while I focused on all the cute Christian boys the camp had to offer.
            A few days into the week, one of my cabin-mates got sick.  She was stuck in the Nurse’s cabin for at least a day.  At lunch that day, our counselor asked us if someone could bring her lunch to her.  I volunteered.  It was the right thing to do, and it made me look good.  It was also a gorgeous day, so it would mean some time out in the sun by myself.
            As I crossed the field over to the Nurse’s cabin, a slight breeze picked up and stopped me dead in my tracks.  I closed my eyes and breathed it in.  A strange feeling came over me – absolute calm.  For the first time since I had been born, everything in my body quieted down.  I opened my eyes and took everything in: the clear blue sky, the clouds, the green trees, the giant boulder in the middle of the field where we all met for morning activities, simply known as “the rock”.  In that instant, it came to me, I finally got it.  My faith suddenly turned from an assumed knowledge to a real understanding.  Without hesitation, without question or doubt, my mouth opened up, and the words “I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savoir” flowed from within me into the breeze.  It wasn’t a definitive statement; it was a statement of wonder and awe.  My chest bubbled up with joy, a smile crept across my face, and a satisfied sigh escaped from within me.  With a nod to the beautiful day, I went along my way to deliver lunch to my sick cabin mate.
            I have not felt that kind of peace since.  I would like to say my faith has come as easy as the breeze that day, but faith is not that simple.  Even though two years later I was Baptized, even though I taught Sunday school and sang in the church choir, I question my faith every day.  I ask why it can’t be as simple as a summer day at Baptist camp, and I don’t think I will ever understand why.  So I keep that day in my back pocket, and pull it out when I fear that God isn’t listening, take a deep breath, and hope to catch the breeze.

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