When we were in the 6th grade, it didn’t matter to me one bit that Kenny had giant, buck teeth that his braces couldn’t quite rein in. I thought he was beautiful, and I was pretty sure I was in lasting, true love. I used to lay awake in bed at night and think about Kenny tapping on my window and telling me that he loved me, too.
In sixth grade choir, we sang the classic, 1970’s ballad “You Light Up My Life” – easily the most profound song of my 11 years if you discount “Eye of the Tiger” – and I sang it every day in my heart to Kenny.
You know why? Because – sing it with me – it can’t be wraaaahhhng when it feels so riiiiiight. ‘Cause you [KENNY!], you light up my life.
I also made sure I glanced, oh so subtly, at Kenny every time there was a particularly meaningful lyric. Which was pretty much the whole song. Fortunately, my subtly was eclipsed by Kenny’s obliviousness.
There’s nothing like hanging out with 245 junior high kids to give you flashbacks.
Some memories are sweet, like loving Kenny, who probably would’ve passed out from terror if he knew about my passionate feelings.
Some memories are sad, like experiencing the death of a loved one for the first time.
Some are poignant. Some are embarrassing. Some are bewildering.
All of which come rushing back as I hang out at camp. Maybe that’s why people are uncomfortable with this age group… ’cause, man!, those memories may have some dust on them, but they are all there, in the recesses of my mind, and apparently they’re lining up to dogpile me, give me noogies, and emphasize the importance of limiting the height of my bangs (which is actually a HUGE help – thank you, Memories!).
What I’m loving about camp this week is the way the staff and counselors respect and honor these kids as wise and complex people who are worthy of trust, deeply thoughtful, and also just a plain old, good time.
The theme at camp this week is Light.
See the Light. Know the Light. Be the Light.
And, oh! It’s mesmerizing to get to peek inside their hearts as they become more comfortable and their protective walls start to crumble. These kids are light-filled, and some of them have no idea. In between conversations about black nail polish, comparisons of Twilight the Book vs. Twilight the Movie (FYI, the movie got stuff TOTALLY wrong and the book is WAY more accurate), proper methods for creating a tie-dye swirl, and how to make the recreation director stop taste-testing sand sculptures (which seemed to really bother some of the kids – good job, Eric!) – I get to notice and name the Light.
“Hey. When you drew that kid out of his shell by asking him about the worst time he ever biffed it on a bike? That was AWESOME. You were totally Light to that kid. I had no idea he could talk that much. Thanks for being a friend.”
So, of course we’re doing a Light craft as one of our projects this week.
We’re making beaded votive candle holders.
Whenever I think about being a conduit for Light to the world, I wonder… what kind of a vessel am I? It’s so easy for me to see my own imperfections, my broken bits, and my rough edges. I know where I’m stretched too thin, and it’s not pretty when I break.
But then I remember that it’s not about the container. It’s about the Light. And if I’m willing to let the Light shine, well, the cracks in the facade are what let it out. The imperfections don’t offend or annoy or irritate the Light. In fact, Light does best when there are holes and vulnerable bits. That’s when the Light can flood the darkness.
And when I’m transparent? Wow! Just wait ’til you see what the Light can do then.
Beaded Votive Candle Holders
- Flexible 24 gauge wire (at any craft store – I found 36 feet for $3.99)
- Beads that will fit on 24 gauge wire – different sizes
- Baby food jar
- Votive candle
- Sand, shells, beads or rocks to fill the bottom of the jar
- Remove baby food jar label and wash the jar
- Cut a piece of wire long enough to wrap the top of the jar twice, add 3 inches
- Bend end of wire so beads don’t slip off
- String beads onto wire, mixing shapes, sizes and colors
- When the wire is full, bend the finishing end; wrap wire around the top of the jar
- Fill the bottom of the jar with your sand, shells, beads or rocks; set the candle on top