For me, the ritual of getting hurt each year at church camp is nearly as familiar as going, and I have the scars to prove it. Now of course these aren’t the horrible, grotesque scars that cause people to ask me how I didn’t die. No, these are the battle wounds of my childhood, the little knicks and cuts and the places where I picked the scabs one too many times, and they shaped me personally as well as physically.
There is one year that stands out above the rest of my memories of getting hurt at church camp. I was in middle school, and only recently had I discovered my talent of having athletic ability. So, I was extremely excited to play capture the flag. I was ready to show up not only the older kids, but those rotten boys. We were playing on somewhat of a rugged hill, with trees and rocks and all sorts of dangerous things in the terrain. Each team hid their flag at the top of a hill and the valley in-between the two hills was the ‘line of scrimmage’. The game went on for what seemed like forever, but finally I saw the opening. I was going to go big or go home, so I grabbed the other team’s flag and started charging down the mountain. Now I was completely out of control, my feet were moving and I couldn’t make them stop, I was just trying to get to the bottom of the hill, because no way was I going to give up! It just happened to turn out that I ran right by one of the male counselors. I was still at top speed when I felt this push on my back and that was all it took. My feet no longer mattered because I was in some awkward position sliding down the mountain. Finally, I was stopped by a tree.
I believe that what happened next was more important than actually crashing. My friends rushed over to me and their concern showed in their eyes. I told them I didn’t want any nurse but they forced me to get cleaned up. They also kept me company and made me laugh despite my pain. I will be forever grateful for their friendship at that time.
I learned that my friends will always be there for me, even when I am stubborn and don’t want to get help, they have my best interests in mind. I believe that because I was tough and didn’t complain about my pain it gave me some hidden confidence and strengthened even more my competitiveness. I believe that all of those people will forever respect me, and I will always be known as ‘the girl who fell down the mountain’. Also, my scars inspire questions, which produce stories, and lead to smiles.
So finally, I believe battle wounds of childhood are key in the maturing and development of every person.