Fifty-odd years ago I would have been at Black Forest Baptist Assembly (BFBA) north of Colorado Springs with a group of kids. It was a “primitive camp” which meant we slept in tents (army barracks style tents), used an outhouse, and cooked breakfast over a campfire. I loved that job a lot and did it for two summers. My first summer I did this ONE camp. The next summer I took a full-time “job” as a CIT (Counselor in Training) and lived at BFBA for two months and counseled three junior high camps.
The job ended when my mom drove up one day from Colorado Springs and told me I had to come home. She was putting my dad in a nursing home, and I had to help. I packed up my stuff, said goodbye to everyone (thankfully, I wasn’t counseling a camp at that point, just doing dishes and stuff) and went “home.” Dad was duly installed exactly where he should have been long before, and I began the preparation to return to college in September.
Thinking back, I don’t think my mom expected me to say, “OK,” pack my stuff, and get into the car, but that’s what I did. One reason I had (in her words) “Moved out,” was because she and I fought all the time. I didn’t like it, she didn’t like it, but we couldn’t stop. I was struggling to live my life and she was struggling to live hers. I was completely unaware of the substance abuse backstory in her life — well, our lives since it affected me, too. I wouldn’t even KNOW that part of our story until some twenty years later when my mom was in the hospital and her doctor told me.
That was an enormous shock and lesson for me. Behind every face, even the most familiar to us, even our own, lies a mystery, a self and a struggle.
As for Black Forest Baptist Assembly, I imagine that the field and hill in the photo are now under somebody’s house.