Today we delivered my daughter to overnight camp. She's been looking forward to it for days, counting down the hours even, bubbling over with excitement. Today, as we turned into the wooded entrance to the camp, she rolled down her window and said "Smell that air! Isn't it great?" Well, no, I wouldn't say that. It's hot, humid, and dusty, and the idea of a week in an unairconditioned cabin sounds horrible to me. It's not relevant to her, though.
We'll miss her. We pass by her empty bedroom and sigh. There's an empty place here, a voice we don't hear, hugs we don't receive -- for a week that is. We write her everyday. We talk about her, pray for her, wonder what she's doing now, this minute. Contrast this with her attitude about this separation. I asked her if she'd miss us. She thought about it for, well, maybe a second, and somewhat apologetically said she wouldn't, at least not much. She said she'd be too busy. We said we'd write. She said she'd write, once, maybe. Well, last Summer we wrote every day. We received one postcard from her with two sentences. That's how it goes.
This is foreign. The two summers I went to camp you would have thought I was going to prison. I cried before I went, plead with my parents to let me stay home, and when they dropped me at camp I looked longingly at their car driving away. I just know I was the last to go to sleep in my cabin, every night, as I lay there wondering what was happening at home. Oh, I got on with it, but in the corner of my mind, ever-present, was my dream of home, of leaving this place, this sorry camp.
It has bothered me that my daughter doesn't miss us, at least not much, until today when I made my peace with that. For whatever reason, I think God left the "missing" part out of her. He has his reasons. Maybe she needs to do things that will require her to travel, to be away for long periods of time. Maybe this frees her to move in the world with freedom, untethered by homesickness and roots like some of us. It has it's down side, sure -- she may never know the deep love of place and community that us home-bound people may, that connectiveness, but perhaps she will be able to do things we cannot.
Only one thing I pray: that she'll develop a homesickness for Heaven. And maybe, just maybe, she'll miss her Dad and Mom and brother a little bit too while she's out there with the people, living, enjoying it all.