Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Until Next Year
He was only little, and they were all big, sitting together over at that one table. He walked in and felt suddenly shy. But it was the last morning at Cannon Beach, and he did so wish to eat breakfast with them. And there was that one last empty chair.
All at once they saw him and burst out into the most happy of welcomes. "Come on over!" they called out. "Sit with us!" Their hands and arms waved cheerily toward him until he finally grinned back and climbed on up. He was utterly content.
"Yay!" said one. "Hey how's it going?" called out another, and Grandma knew she could walk quietly away. She knew it was all going to be just fine, and for nearly an hour he didn't even notice she wasn't there. You see, at Cannon Beach there is a camaraderie unusually fine, a feeling that you belong and are recognized. This little fellow had felt it all during the week and now was his chance to feel it again this one last time - until next year.
Grandma then wandered along to where the small girl had found her own teachers, and was chatting away nineteen to the dozen. "We are going to go get mommy and daddy and go camping in the Redwoods!" she enthused. "We get to stay in a TENT and EAT OUTSIDE."
Just the day before, she had heard that it was their last full day at this wonderful place. When this alarming concept had sunk in and she had known for sure that it would be ending, she lifted up her head and wept.
"But my FRIENDS! my TEACHERS! What will they DO? What will I DO? I - can't - go!" and she was quite unconsolable.
In time, she was comforted and held, coming to accept these hard truths of life. The very temporariness of it seemed to her patently unfair. But she is a smart little thing, and is learning that not everything in life is temporary. There is God. And that is what Cannon Beach is all about.
Grandma then hovered for a bit near to where the elder brother sat with his cinnamon roll and his hot chocolate, saying his own goodbyes to those with whom he had spent so many hours. These were just exactly the right people for him. They understood him well and liked what they saw. A kid can always tell, and it changes them. Grandma had seen this change all during the week, and was happy.
You see, at the end of every week the youth leaders make themselves available in the dining hall, dressed in red and having breakfast with their young charges. You should just hear them cheerfully reaching out as the children walk in. Little ones all search wistfully for their very own and when they find them, their eyes light up as if they were seeing the cast of Frozen or something. It made me think of Heaven and the great grand welcome we will receive as we arrive. There will have been nothing like it. But in the meantime, while we are still here there are these sweet moments that make us think longingly of it.
When the breakfast was finally finished and it was time to go, you could hear people calling out everywhere, "Goodbye! Goodbye! See you next year! We will watch for you! Take care!"
It was hard to leave. But there was a mommy and a daddy waiting; a kind golden doggie yearning; and lots and lots of stories to tell them all.
"Let's go get mom and dad, shall we?" said Grandpa, as he picked up the smallest. The little boy's head rested on Grandpa's strong shoulder, and we all trooped out to the car.
See you along the Way!