Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you will come often. It is my hope that these stories and reflections will be helpful in your spiritual journey. I look forward to your thoughts, questions, or suggestions. Please leave your comments and join as a follower so I will know you were here. It is a privilege to share the journey with you.

If you wish to know more about me, spiritual direction or retreats visit my website. www.bunnycox.com. Blessings, Bunny

*See first posting in January, 2011 to learn why this blog is called "From the Big Red Chair."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

You Never Know

I was not snooping!  Spencer’s essay was in Hplain view on the desk in his room, and sooner or later somebody had to change the linen. OK, so maybe I was snooping, but I’m not sorry.  How else would I have discovered we made a few good decisions along the potholed path of parenthood.  Children don’t divulge that kind of information readily lest they forfeit the power to keep you guessing.  

I’m glad I read Spencer’s college application essay. Otherwise, I might never have glimpsed his tender heart or known that the simple act of ensuring he got to camp in the summer created life-sustaining ripples of hope that washed upon distant shores and soothed a young man's struggling faith:

Please respond to the following question: What person or place has had the greatest influence on your life?

When I was in the third grade, I was living with my mother and father in Georgia before their divorce, and was, in general, getting pretty bored. Cartoons, hot wheels, games; all simply failed to alleviate my crushing sense of boredom. My grandparents noticed this, and recommended Camp McDowell in Nauvoo, Alabama to me. Cleverly, they didn’t tell me it was a church camp (knowing I would instantly balk), and I went along for the ride happily. When I got there, I instantly fell in love with every aspect of it that my brain could comprehend at that age. The people, environment, friends, and atmosphere were all idyllic. I didn’t realize how important Camp McDowell would be in my life. Camp McDowell and my experiences in the Episcopal Church have carried me through some difficult times and have helped heal wounds I have suffered.

When my mother died, I went to live with my father. I had not seen or heard from him in a long time, and I found him to be unpleasantly changed. In general, he was not the same man I remembered. I felt as if I were in a less than welcoming home with people who saw me as a burden to bear because I shared the same blood as my father. I had no family nearby, no friends or anyone else to talk to, no one I could depend on.

My faith was very weak at that point. More or less, the extent of it was that I believed God was real.

I was lying in my room one day, and I began to think about Camp. I thought about how crazy everyone was there. I thought about how much fun I had.  I thought about the wonderful staff who actually seemed to take an interest in the kids. I thought about this and much more lying on my bed that night, and I began to realize God was giving me hope.  

I had begun to fight my way back to becoming normal again, and remembering camp was giving me the strength to do it. Every time I slipped back into depression, I recalled the fever-pitched singing at camp, and how the songs sent waves of joy thundering down my veins, and I would regain a foothold and begin climbing again. It was a very slow and painful process, but eventually I succeeded. 

Before I knew it, I was sitting in my grandparent’s house, very much scared and very much lonely. My grandparents explained that my dad had given up his parental rights and was not my legal father anymore. They adopted me as their child and gave me the surname Cox.  I honestly didn’t know if I would ever be able to forgive my dad, and I looked to God and my experiences at Camp to help me.  
Camp McDowell truly brings out the best in people and helps you discover things about yourself that you did not know were there. It brought out my ability to talk with strangers about sensitive issues and problems in their life or in my own. It taught me to use my experiences to help others and to not dwell in the past, but to learn from it.

I realize now how easy it might have been for a child who has been through all of that to forsake God and become a hardcore atheist, but that isn’t what happened. It slowly dawned on me that God does love me.

My life has been an interesting one so far, with some very hard times, but I have met them full on and have come out a better, stronger person because of it. I do not regret anything that happened because there is no point in dwelling on the past and because there have been immeasurable amounts of good to come out of it. I am not bitter about what was taken from me because so much has been given back. I have made peace with God and Jesus, and consider them to be very good friends of mine. And, I have forgiven my father for disowning me.

Camp has been a major part of my life, and I know your school has the potential to equal or surpass that experience. Please consider me for admission.  I promise that I will not disappoint you.


"Even the youths shall faint and be weary. . .but those who wait for God; they shall mount up with wings as eagles."~ Isaiah 40:

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers they shall not overflow you. . ."~Isaiah 40:

"You may give them your love, but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts.  You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls live in the house of tomorrow."~Kahlil Gibran, On Children

"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children."~Nelson Mandela

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."~Leo Buscaglia

-What person or place has had the greatest influence on my life?
-Have I been the recipient of an act of kindness that has played an important role in my life? What was it? What happened as a result?
-What lessons for living have I gleaned from the woes in my life?
-In what way might I demonstrate a "small act of caring" today?

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