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Serving at Lake Ann and for Life

June 17, 2012

When one encounters the harsh realities of the day-to-day behind-the-scenes grind involved in employment at a favorite place or experience, it tends to scuff away some of the magic. Disney world is a different place for those sad souls who have to sit behind a counter and give the same announcement thousands of times a day, and it’s not a better one. (and let’s be honest: Disney World is a trifle overrated anyways.) One would naturally expect that employment at the camp where I encountered God yearly as a child would tend to create some mixed feelings about the place. One definitely wouldn’t expect that it would cause me to love it even more.

Lake Ann has been a special place to me since I first attended as a 5th grade camper. As a camper I learned a lot of things about people, an overwhelming amount about myself, and I learned about God. But “learned about” might not be the most appropriate phrasing. I come from a solid Christian home, so most things that you could tell me about God would come as no surprise. At Lake Ann, one doesn’t merely learn these things, one experiences them, and that’s what makes Lake Ann special.

I’m not sure what first prompted me to seek employment in the kitchen at Lake Ann, but it was likely a desire to experience that immersive approach to the learning of God’s glory for a whole summer. I shouldn’t have expected that; I knew that part of the power of the Lake Ann experience was its limited time-frame, but I still wanted more.

Watching my counselor, going through the lunch lines and seeing the kitchen crew rejoicing in their simple job, watching the band throw their arms towards heaven and praise God–there was something there I wanted. There was something more to be had from Lake Ann.

So I applied two summers ago. My motives were crummy and self-centered, but Chefy hired me for some reason anyways. I was there because I wanted to be there. I was there because I thought it would be a splendid way to spend my summer. I was there because there were things I wanted from Lake Ann that I had yet to experience. In short, I was there because of me.

There is one reason to work at Lake Ann, and “I” isn’t it.

Workers at Lake Ann are there to serve the camper. That is our sole and primary purpose. I’m not saying that I didn’t want to be there by the end of the summer, nor am I saying I didn’t have an amazing experience, but that wasn’t my purpose there. As a member of the kitchen crew, I was there to remove distractions from the campers so that they could have an amazing experience. I was there to serve.

It could have been a terrible summer for me if I had remained focused upon myself, but God, through the environment and my boss and coworkers, changed my heart and focused it on servanthood, and that is precisely why that summer was an amazing experience. You see, life isn’t about me, and I don’t want to go through life expecting it to be. The life I desire is one of constant sacrifice to a greater purpose–a life focused outside of myself. If there’s one thing I have taken away from my experience working at Lake Ann for these past two summers it’s this: the life lived outside of one’s self is the good life.

God put me at Lake Ann for a purpose, and His purpose was the reason I was there. Because of those summers, hopefully I made a difference, however small, in the lives of Lake Ann’s campers. I know that they made a difference in mine. It was pleasure serving them.

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