Summer of ’94

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September 1, 2005 by Isaac Hovet

It was the summer of 1994. It was the last night of summer camp at Camp Crestview. I remember it vividly. In spite of the huge fans roaring in their feeble attempt to cool the room, the air hung thick around me. In slow motion I scanned around the chapel, wondering if anyone else felt like a gentle hand was reaching into their soul, tugging them to take a step that they had never taken before. As I cautiously looked, I saw people lost in the throbbing worship. Their eyes were shut, their faces peaceful or intent, but none of them were exhibiting any of the signs of fear that I was feeling. I sat, hopeful that if I changed my posture, the rising emotion inside of me would cease. It was no use. Sweat began to gather under my eyes and on my forehead, even the fan just to my left couldn’t contain the perspiration. My nerves were unraveling. What was happening to me? As I thought and evaluated I could arrive at no conclusion.

Then, to my left I saw a man begin to approach the stage. He walked slowly and with a certain amount of hesitation, as if he fought the same undeniable sense of anticipation and fear as I did. His face was troubled, but not set in grimace or frown. The corners of his mouth trembled, as if he knew that what followed could lead to a joyous smile or a devastating disappointment. My mind raced to figure out what this man was about, but my heart, my soul and the fist in my torso knew what was coming. This man was going to bring clarity to murky mire of emotion settled in my stomach. I can’t say that this knowledge calmed the chaos inside of me, but it was pacifying to realize that good or bad, I was not in this moment alone.

The man now had a microphone. He raised it to his lips as if to speak, but then pulled it away quickly. His eyes closed tight and he bowed his head slightly. I was close enough to see that he was whispering or mouthing something. If he was feeling anything like me I am sure that he was praying. With his head stilled bowed he opened his eyes. He again placed the microphone in front of his mouth. The music quieted. Eyes opened. People were now focusing on the man about to speak. He raised his head as he addressed the crowd. His voice was quiet and his words simple…

To be continued…

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