During a decade directing church camps for youth in disequilibrium we sought to provide safe spaces. Jr & Sr High youth were going through seismic shifts emotionally, physically, relationally, and spiritually. At church camp, youth and adults could take a week to try on new ways of being in the world without the pre-conceived notions of who they were at home, school, or church; we became more than any of us had been before.
Three sacred spaces stick with me today.
The challenge course game field was where we played. The “New Games” rules were: play hard, play fair, nobody hurt, everybody win. Amidst uncharted challenges, inclusive games, and lots of laughter, we built a community out of seventy strangers, rivals, and a few former outcasts.
The quiet tree was on the trail to our campfire where each cabin prepared nightly worship. The quiet tree was where you stopped talking as you became fully present to a grace filled presence. In that space, I’d finally decide how to interpret and share a meaning of an event of the day. The best teaching moments came directly from our experience.
The steps that led down to the cabins provided a third sacred space. Any camper could talk to me on the steps. We were safely in the open and everyone respected the privacy of a step conversation. Steps along the journey of family, friends, faith, sexuality, spirituality, and stances were explored.
Where are your safe spaces along your journey?
How are you challenged to evolve?
When do you play and laugh?
When does silence reveal meaning to experience?
Whom do you trust to fully listen to you?
Where do you find community for your disequilibrium?