“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” – Albert Schweitzer
Earlier this month, I took the girls to participate in a Buddhist summer camp that I had attended for ten years during my youth. I hoped to give them a chance to experience team living and make new friends outside of school. I also joined the camp as a volunteer.
As our time at the camp came to an end, I asked the girls, “Did you have fun?” Both of them nodded silently, but Ree’s expression seemed somewhat complex. So I asked, “What’s wrong? Are you feeling sad about leaving?” She nodded again and a few tears of mixed emotions rolled down her cheeks. Wanting to give them a bit more time to cherish the moments, I encouraged them to spend extra time with the older girls and counselors who were cleaning the dormitories while I completed my remaining volunteer tasks.
On the way back, the girls couldn’t contain their excitement as they happily shared their adventures and memories from the camp. It was heartwarming to see their faces light up with joy as they recounted every little detail. Even Vee, who had cried every night wanting to go home, was still reluctant to leave when it was time to part ways. She told me she would definitely come back next year. On the night they returned home, she cried before bedtime, telling me how much she missed the counselors who took care of her.
BYC is an extraordinary summer camp that truly works its magic on everyone who experiences it. It has this inexplicable charm that compelled me to return every summer during my youth. For me, returning after twenty years with my own children was an absolute delight. I witnessed their hearts fill with the same wonder and joy that I had felt during my youth. It also rekindled the cherished memories from the past, reminding me of the boundless love I have for my children and the importance of embracing my true self.