This summer, I had the privilege of traveling as part of a singing group representing my college. Quick stats: 8 students + 1 sponsor/sponsor couple traveling in a 15 passenger van with a trailer for 9 weeks through 17 states to approx. 45 churches/camps/conferences to present our program of sacred vocal and instrumental music and drama and recruit students, prayer warriors, and other contacts for our school. It was a great, hard, fun summer, and conveniently, all my highlights start with R! Alliteration fanatics, be proud.
Gotta do something in the car, right? 12,000 miles is enough time for even ME to learn the Rubik’s cube. My very patient friend taught me while we were sitting in the van. One thing I really value from the summer is the time in the van chillaxing. Essentially every day, we drove between 1 and 7 hours–plenty of down time to learn new things, read, review my Greek, memorize Scripture, cross-stitch, get to know your teammates, and yes, nap. A lot. When I look at my little Rubik’s cube, it symbolizes to me time. Time in which I was forced (not unwillingly) to sit and do the things I always say I’ll do “when I have time.”
I went on my first roller coaster! Mondays were our days off, and we were able to enjoy going to a theme park in Branson, the Mall of America, or chilling/swimming in the hotel. I’m not going to lie–I wasn’t super crazy about hurtling towards the ground at millions of miles per hour and then being whipped around unnatural angles. Yeah, yeah, it’s “safe.” In this context. It’s pretty much letting people feel like they’re going to die without dying. Huh, fun.
I know, I’m being a party pooper. The thing I did appreciate about days off was being able enjoy things as a group that I wouldn’t go do on my own. We got close as a group, and we just enjoyed being together.
My teammates, the people that we ministered to, the people that ministered to us by having us in their homes… people were the best and worst part of the summer. They pulled out of me what I didn’t know was in me–anger or compassion, self-assertion or submission, problem-solving or “the void.” You know, where you try to think and there’s literally nothing there. Mac ‘n Cheese where my brain should be. Anyway, people are what God used most in my life this summer to show me what I have in me–both good and bad.
Some of those people were the staff members from the school who would travel with us for 1-2 weeks at a time to drive the van and serve as an adult presence. One of our sponsors–we’ll call him “Egbert” to protect the… I hesitate to call him innocent–was an excellent spiritual leader and a very fun addition to our team. But he loved rumble strips. Like, would purposely drive on the rumble strip for several miles to ensure that everyone was awake. As you can imagine, those of us who were sleeping at these times were not too keen on being awakened by Sir Egbert’s little driving tricks. I guess all of our sponsors had their quirks though–and that’s what made them memorable. It was one of my favorite things about the summer, to hear your professor scream on a roller coaster, or wear sandals almost 24/7, or have him pull you aside and ask how you’re holding up, or to observe him graciously drive through Manhattan with a van and trailer (no mean task!). To see the summer vacation side of teachers–even if that involved rumble strips.
Each member of our team had different responsibilities. Mine was that of Music Director, which involved leading warm-ups (like do-re-mi? Get the title? Nevermind.) and rehearsals and rearranging the program schedule when the church wanted less than the full hour and fifteen minutes. It was one of the most stretching parts of the summer for me. It forced me to be creative with warm-ups and programming, to analyze what needed to change, to lead musically. I hated it–I loved it. I got to the end and gladly renounced my responsibilities, at the same time knowing there is no renouncing what I know God has given to me, so I’m actually just starting.
Right Around the Corner…
I couldn’t help but wonder, as the summer went on, what I’ll be doing next summer after I graduate. I value so much this summer and the different kinds of churches and ministries I was exposed to, the grad schools I was able to look into, the cities we visited, and even the teaching bug I caught. Overall, I’m more excited than scared about what lies beyond graduation.
So… what did you do this summer? Can you alliterate it, rhyme it, or acronym it? [P.S. Acronym can actually be a verb. Did you know that? I didn’t know that.]