If you’ve seen the movie “The Vow” , you know about the movie’s focus on “Moments of impact…” the opening monologue states that our lives are simply a culmination of many moments of impact that change us forever; events that change the course of our life in such a drastic way that they can’t be ignored or forgotten. Some of these events are choices that we make, while others we have no control over. When thinking back on my own life and my “Moments of impact”, I’ve found that there are very few that are bigger than when I met James Brooks.
This past weekend I took a trip to Greenville, South Carolina. This is not an unusual trip for us because we have a lot of family there. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.
But I now have several very close friends that live there too. Lifetime friends. Best friends. I only get to see these guys a couple times a year, but they have literally changed my life. My friendships with them have played a major role in my walk with the LORD and when I look back on the chain of events that led to our friendship, I have no doubt that God was in it 100%. But in order for you guys to understand, I’ll have to re-wind almost 4 years.
The summer after my sophomore year of high school, I was scheduled to attend “The Wilds”, a bible camp in NC that my Dad went to growing up and many of my siblings had been to in previous years. I wasn’t interested in going to camp and spending a week of my summer reading the Bible and praying. However, everyone I knew who went had the time of their life and always came back talking about how great it was and how much I would like it. So reluctantly, I put my name on the list. My brother and I were going with the youth group from a church that we used to attend and we were lucky that they had exactly 2 seats left open on their bus. Once we arrived and I was settled in, I became nervous that I was not going to have a fun week. I didn’t really fit in with anyone in my cabin.
Later that night, however, a kid came in a joined us. His name was James and we immediately hit it off. We spent the whole week together and everyone we talked to thought we were best friends who came to camp together. But it wasn’t until I learned his side of the story that I realized how divine our meeting really was.
James had been going to the wilds all of his life. He was planning on going with his home church that summer, but several month earlier, suffered a meniscus tear that made that trip impossible. He was finally feeling well enough to go later in the summer but did not expect to get the chance because all of the waiting lists were full. However, the week that I went was plagued with the flu and had so many kids sent home that they were short on campers and had several openings. James lives only an hour away from the camp, and so with the news of this open spot coming to him via his sister, he packed his bags and came up that day.
By the end of the week we had become best friends. And I had learned that he lived 2 min. from where my grandparents lived. I was so excited that we had that connection that would make it easier to visit. We kept in touch after camp texting a couple times a month and catching up from time to time. We decided to line up our camp schedules for the next summer and spend another week together at the Wilds. But this year was going to be a little bit different. James was bringing two of his friends from home (Clay and Ben) along with him. I was nervous that I wouldn’t get along with these guys as well and that it would make the week awkward. I could not have been more wrong. Much to my surprise, I clicked with them as well as I had with James a year ago. We instantly became a tight knit group of friends and they helped make that week 100x better. That week of camp brought us another new friend however. That is the week we met Letty. She fit in well with the group and knew who James and Clay were through a friend. Letty and James are now together and have been for almost two years and wouldn’t have met if James and I hadn’t lined up our schedules to go to camp together.
I kept in touch with all of the guys and was excited to see them again next year. James and Ben were able to visit for a week that next summer and I went to camp with James and Clay the week after. That year at camp, I of course made new friends. One of the people I met was Sara Beam. She happened to go to church with James and Clay and also knew Letty through a music camp. The connections were crazy and we all became very close. By the end of that week, I considered James and Clay to be two of my closest friends. I kept in touch with everyone (James, Clay, Letty, and Sara) through the year but wasn’t sure when I was going to see them again since we had aged out of camp.
So here we are. My family took a trip to SC to visit my grandparents. I got the opportunity to see family and cousins and also to re-connect with my group of friends. We didn’t miss a beat. We talked and laughed like we had been friends all of our lives. I went snowboarding with them one day, and to church with them the next.In them, I have a core group of Christian friends who bring me closer to God and closer to themselves every time that I interact with them. I have this group of friends because there were 2 spots open on the bus to camp; Because James suffered an injury that seemed to only bring him pain; Because the flu spread through camp the week that I went; because James was put in my cabin and happened to live down the street from my Grandma; Because Clay and Ben came along the next year; Because God knew what I needed and Blessed me with more than I could ever asked for.
"Ten guys with shines for eyes ef de he beff"
"I smell like and irish spring! With a lil bi a bri-ish"
"The father's comin and we wanna go home"