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To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us, and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His Love, every moment of existence a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.

Thomas Merton

This Thanksgiving finds me overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude for the light and love we shared this summer. Maybe it is the wonderful sense of a holiday that stirs it all up. Maybe it is the sense of reflecting on the year and counting my blessings. Whatever it is, as the turkey bakes and our family travels to be together, I find myself thinking about summer and everyone I shared it with, and being deeply grateful.

I picture the doctors and nurses in the Health Center caring for all of us and imagine them in their work this time of year. I go through the faces of the Head Counselors and imagine that they miss staff and campers as much as we do; I wonder if they miss us as much as we miss them. I remember things we laughed about during meals and stories we shared.

I think about staff. Oh, I think about staff and things I learned from them and ways I enjoyed them. I think about their kind hearts and generous love that made the summer what it was for each camper here. I think about their never-ending energy and good humor and deep love for “their girls.” I think about their readiness to make each day at Camp a very good day for everyone.

I think about the cooks in the kitchen and their the three hundred fifty plates served three times a day. I think about the farmers harvesting 50 pounds of green beans and 50 pounds of okra and 100 pound of potatoes – what it took to serve those vegetables for one meal. I think about the cooks at Windy Hill washing lettuce for hours in a day so we could have fresh salads.

I think about the people in the Camp office counting quarters and making lists and ordering supplies and emailing parents all the information they need. I think about the cleaning women who love their jobs and come each day to clean. I think about ELiz and her recycling and the guys who haul and set up and repair and look out for anything Camp needs to run smoothly.

I think about all the Camp friends who aren’t at Camp with us, yet pray for us throughout the summer. I think about parents who give their girls Camp and for how much we love getting to know their daughters and watch them grow up.

And I think about you - Camp DeSoto campers. I think about you coming to Morning Watch and running around all over Camp during the day. I think about passing you on the bridge and seeing you laugh and visit at Store. I think about seeing you mail your letters or haul your laundry or gather for your trip day. I think about how the Four Square Court and the Gaga Court never seem empty. I think about your singing and your Tribe Days. I think about you loving your cabinmates, and I think about you forgiving someone who hurt you. I think about you making the extra effort to be kind to someone because you know she is disappointed. I think about the ways you make sure new campers know their way and feel like they belong. I think about seeing you all live together and being encouraged myself to be kinder and more thoughtful of those around me. I think about your energy-abounding line dancing and your excitement to find a place at your table and your cheers over night activity. I think about good moments and conversations I get to observe or be part of.

I think about Camp, alive and full of people, and the sheer gift of sharing those months together.

I think about one song in particular that has been strong in my memory since summer:

“grace upon grace
upon grace upon
grace from Him,

from God’s fullness we have received grace . . . “

I realize that all the people and moments of the summer that float through my thoughts and daydreams are “immense graces from God.”

And, I am grateful, deeply grateful.

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Marsha Hurt

About Marsha Hurt

Marsha has been directing Camp for almost 30 years. She came to Camp DeSoto for the first time as a counselor in Cabin 24. She wants every girl at Camp to have a good book to read, a friend to laugh with, and a deep sense of God’s love.

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