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Exactly the right idea
On a hot Saturday morning in June, my mom, my brother, and I packed a bunch of luggage into my car. My brother and I were heading that day to our favorite place on earth—a camp for Christian Scientists. Even though I had taken the big step from camper to counselor just a few years earlier, being at camp, in whatever role, was always the best part of my summer.
Three hours and a few dusty roads later, we arrived, and I was ecstatic. Our friends greeted us with wide smiles and tight hugs; we couldn’t wait to get the session rolling. However, I would soon find out that not everyone was as excited about being at camp as I was.
That night, I was in a cabin with some of the youngest girls, who were staying over into the next session and would soon be moving to new cabins. I helped them get ready for bed, but as they began to settle down, one of the girls appeared upset. I tried to comfort her, but she resisted. She kept saying that she didn’t feel at home and that she didn’t want to be at camp anymore. I assured her that she would love her new cabin mates and have a blast. But after that, since I could tell she wanted to be alone, I gave her some space. Once each camper was in bed, I turned off the lights and headed to my bunk.
The best way of helping others is to pause in prayer and let Him give us the right idea.
A few moments later, I heard sniffling and turned to see the girl standing near my bed. She had tears running down her face, and told me that not only was she homesick and missing her parents, but she was also afraid that none of her new cabin mates would like her. Since I felt like I hadn’t said exactly the right thing earlier, this time I paused and waited for an inspired thought to come to me. It’s always been reassuring to me to understand that God, being infinite Mind and Love, knows each of our needs, and so the best way of helping others is to pause in prayer and let Him give us the right idea.
Soon, a thought came to me, and I knew it was from God because it didn’t feel like something I’d thought up on my own. It also felt like just the right thing to say. I asked her, “Why do you love your parents?”
She stopped crying, paused, and responded, “Because they love me and take care of me.”
“Do you really need to be with your parents to know that they love you?” I asked.
She perked up. “I guess not.”
I said, “You love your parents because they love you unconditionally, right? And we know the same is true about God. We love Him because He loves us, and we can feel and express that love wherever we are.” Then I shared the idea that when she met her new cabin mates, she could treat them with the same pure love that she feels from her parents and from God. Loving and feeling loved erases all the fear and worry.
I could tell she understood, because she seemed a lot more peaceful. I gave her one last hug and asked her if she needed anything else. She was getting sleepy, so once she said she was OK, I tucked her into bed and said good night.
In the morning, she was happy and ready to start the day. And she didn’t have any problems with homesickness during the rest of the time she was there.
It was so meaningful to me to witness this healing and to see how the right thought from God could have such a powerful impact.
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Photograph by Peter Anderson
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