As I have already mentioned, this is the last week of camp. Mixed emotions run through me at the thought of camp drawing to a close for the year. I am tired and ready for camp to be over on one hand; on the other hand, however, I wish I could just stay at camp all year and hang out with these kids all the time. And only adding to the inner-turmoil is the fact that this is the most interesting week of kids I have ever experienced at camp. Normally we have a lot of behavior problems. We see kids who are just flat-MAD: at life, at everyone, and everything (usually with good reason). They shut down when confronted, cry and scream when they get in trouble, and generally lack the emotional and social resources that kids growing up in a stable environment would possess.
This week, however, we have an unusually high number of special needs kids. Kids who come from the same background that most of our kiddos come from, but who have been physically affected by their environment. One little boy has brain damage because he was so severely abused as a child. Another set of brothers suffer from seizures and other medical issues as a result of their mother’s drug use. Several of our kids come from a homeless shelter, and spent the entire night last night worrying and crying that they needed to go “home.” And we have several more kids who are obviously mentally handicapped in some way. The truth is that even if their handicap is not a direct result of their environment, most of them are not receiving the medical support and intervention their need demands.
Honestly, my heart seems softer to the “bad” kids than to these kids. They are hard to deal with, difficult to reach, impossible to reason with, and they make me feel as though the situation is hopeless. Drugs, violence, poverty, welfare, lack of healthcare . . . The cycle never stops, and these kids are the victims of a tragedy that is neither acknowledged nor fought against.
When I find myself praying to God, asking “why don’t You do something?” I hear a gentle whisper respond, “I did do something. I made you.”