By Truth Johnston

My experience at the A/U Ranches was fun with all the great outdoor activities, supportive staff and fellow campers at Family Camp. I also enjoyed new friendships. But the most valuable part of being at the A/U Ranches during a recent summer was the spiritual lessons I learned.

I have been re-evaluating my purpose in this new chapter of my life of being single and retired. Of course I love to stay active, but more importantly, I want to fulfill God’s purpose for me.

I had been cherishing the idea of helping others feel God’s love for them. One way to love is to be genuinely interested in what others want to talk about. Throughout camp, I talked with others about their passions and found them fascinating. Secondly, I wanted to make sure no one was left out. So I reached out to those who were by themselves, engaged them in conversation and invited them to activities.

As nice as my efforts were, there was something missing in these human attempts. I was feeling as if I was doing all of the reaching out and, either because of social distancing, not having a family with me or being new to the A/U Ranches, I wasn’t feeling like I really belonged.

Through prayer and general conversations with the camp practitioner, it became clear to me that I had been wanting to help others because I had been tricked into thinking they were needy, and I had to bring something to make them feel loved. In addition, I was feeling sorry for widows, like myself, who seemed to be lacking or incomplete without our loved ones.

In the Bible, we read about a widow who sustained Elijah during a drought, when the common assumption of the day would be that Elijah needed to support her (I Kings 17). Another widow found her needs met through oil that continued to pour when she trusted the prophet, Elisha (II Kings 4).

Regarding the so-called needy in his day, Jesus was able to heal, not through pity, but because he “beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, pp. 476-477). This right view of them brought freedom to their limited view of themselves. He gave more than a shoulder to cry on. He saw their completeness, which resulted in healing.

I realized the highest and most helpful form of love was to see others as complete, perfect children of God, instead of lacking mortals needing my sympathy. That clear view needed to be the motive behind every act of kindness.

With this new insight, I was flooded with an impersonal love toward each individual at camp. I also recognized that Adventure Unlimited is not just a nice organization that supports Christian Science youth, but is God’s mission to bless the world. So far from not belonging at camp, my Christlike thought was exactly what was needed. It is the lie that love is not complete, good is not supreme, that does not belong at camp. So I kicked out of my thinking every challenge to God’s supreme goodness.

The rest of my visit at camp was packed with ways to really love others without pity, and I felt loved, too. As I reflect on the time, I don’t think there was any less love and kindness expressed by everyone at the beginning than at the end of my camp experience. I just could see it more clearly when I saw it from a point of completeness, rather than lack.

All programs at the A/U Ranches are subsidized by donors. Your gift today can help support healing experiences like this one.

Truth sharing gratitude during Family Camp.

About The A/U Ranches

The A/U Ranches, located in Buena Vista, Colorado, are a cornerstone of Adventure Unlimited’s programming. The supportive and inspiring atmosphere cultivates confidence and develops moral courage for Christian Science youth, adults and families. Activities are offered year-round, including a secular community outreach program, 100 Elk, which serves diverse schools and groups.

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Youth Camp at the A/U Ranches

Our experiences change lives. At the A/U Ranches you’ll find a Christian Science atmosphere with staff dedicated to helping you see the role God plays in your life. Each program and activity is designed to help you break through limitations, reach your goals, and see God in action.

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