Be Gods Camper of the Week
By Pam Kumpe
Do you rake leaves or burn them? Well, I have some sound advice. The most important part about burning leaves is to wait until they fall from the tree.
In high school, during my baton twirling days as a teenager, my identical twin and I were known as the "Gold-Dunn" twins. We lived in Phoenix, Arizona and our maiden name was Dunn. We had blonde hair; actually, we still have blonde hair, no gray locks for us.
Well, that summer our drill team traveled to the mountains of Arizona for a week of summer camp. We learned new routines, hung out with friends and competed in competitions. We didn’t like it that our best friends were in the dorms across the college campus. So we packed up our belongings, slipped down the fire escape, and traded rooms with two other girls (no we had no idea who they were.) They pretended to be us, the twins. We pretended to be them. Yes, all went well until we were caught. We almost didn’t win the "camper of the week" award, but after we cried, begged and said we were sorry the director gave us the trophy anyway. Oh, back to the burning leaves. One afternoon, our class twirled fire batons. I know you can't imagine I'd be in the advanced group, but trust me — I could twirl a baton like a monkey with four arms.
We worked out near the campus on an asphalt road. We moved there, so we wouldn't burn down buildings or start a grass fire. Sounded like a great idea to me.
Not long into our lesson, I was compelled to toss my flames into the air. The excitement of a dozen girls twirling fire batons was a pretty site, and I was taking it all in.
The fire was dancing in the air. Oh, the pretty flames. But wait, I was supposed to be careful.
I gazed up to catch my baton, only it never came down. My baton was caught in the branches of a tree. It was the biggest tree with the prettiest leaves. Well, it was the prettiest tree. The flames jumped from the baton to the branches, and the crackling sound of a rushing fire consumed the gigantic tree in seconds, or so it seemed. After the fire trucks left. After the firefighters doused the flames. After the homeowner across the street quit waving her hands. After the teacher stopped fuming, I cried. I had started a huge fire in the mountains of Arizona. This is NOT something you want everyone to know, nor do you want to do it.
So there you have it. I’m sorry for the fire story, which by the way is why I never get to burn leaves in my yard, or hold matches, or use a lighter. I'm pretty dangerous with anything that burns.
So the lesson for today is simple. Be yourself. Don’t try and be anyone but you. God made you special. He created you and he knows what he is doing. Besides, he knows who should be allowed around flames and who should not. So take my advice, let the leaves fall from the tree before you set them on fire, and keep a water hose nearby, especially if you see me coming!
Pam Kumpe is a podcast host, inspirational newspaper columnist, and Kids Super Church teacher. She’s your pray & play friend in East Texas.