Tonight I browsed through some pictures taken at last year’s Camp Tamarack. And it’s weird seeing those places again, to be honest. It’s been what feels like a long time since I was there, though I’ve left some great memories in various spots around the camp.
Strange to say I’ll probably never go back. Stranger even to admit that’s a good thing. Maybe I’m just too old for it, but I can’t say I’d enjoy it in the same way now as I did then. I don’t even have anywhere close to the same group of friends, or the same way of looking at the world.
Though even that’s not really true. I remember once me and some guys put some coloured stuff in our hair — Ice Spiker if I recall correctly — and were told in no uncertain terms that coloured hair is something that people on Yonge Street do, but not us. I might think a bright-blue hairdo is a bit juvenile now, but I certainly don’t think it’s wrong. Slightly different reasons now, but still.
That’s the thing. You get thrown in camp with 139 other people who feel pretty much exactly the same way about everything except minutiae, and it leads to a certain way of thinking about the world. Not in a bad way. It reminds you what the world could be like. It’s maybe a small picture of the Kingdom come, a little look at the lion lying down with the lamb.
But then you get back and remember that the world is a bigger place than all that. Not necessarily a better place, but certainly bigger. And while camp is great for a week, the other fifty-one weeks are filled with something else altogether, and things that can’t be faced with a simplistic attitude about appearances. Things that would be shocking to see in such an idyllic setting become almost normal outside Tamarack’s walls.
It makes me wonder. I’ve heard it said that in order to properly identify and correct evil, you must be shocked by it. But how can you be shocked by behaviours and attitudes you see on a daily basis? How can you be shocked by pagans outside the walls acting like pagans outside the walls? Work knee-deep in grime for a while, and grime becomes the norm. But does anyone give up washing simply because they become dirty every day?
It makes me wonder if the people who are so truly shocked by depravity have actually gone knee-deep in the grime of the real world out there. Not swimming in it, but as if sticking an arm in to rescue someone drowning. It makes me wonder if the desire to be shocked by sin also has its price, and if that price isn’t simply too high to pay.