Footprints On The Heart

There’ re moments in life when something just clicks…in its own way. And we meet people whose life stories not just inspire us, take our breath away by the light shining from them but also bring back memories.  Of different colours but all of them so precious. Today I read a blog of an amazingly strong woman whose battles with the unexpected, physically and mentally tough turns in life lasts for 18 years. She is there – among everything else also writing, taking photos filled with so much love, positivity and belief in tomorrow. In her. Worth more than just a simple admiration. A moment or two to think. About the dear people in our lives. About the ones who have left footprints that will never disappear. To be treasured and remembered.

18 years ago I had started my first year in university and applied for a program to spend summer as a counselor in a camp in the USA. Some 4 months after all the forms were filled in and sent I received a letter from the camp director with all the details. Including the fact it was the camp for children with cancer. I had lost my grandfather to cancer not too long ago therefore…next to joy and excitement about being accepted (there was a possibility also not to be, of course) there were doubts, some concerns. About how it would be. I was looking at all that from the wrong perspective, I just didn’ t know that yet. Opinions of my friends weren’ t helpful at all – they were rather sure the placement was meant for somebody with a medical background or at least psychological one. The decision to go anyway turned out to be among the best ones I have ever made. I ended up in a different world – in many ways and those 2 summers (I returned also next year) did change me. In the way I perceived people, values and priorities, my understanding of what really matters and how much light there can be in the moments you expect it the least. What is the true meaning of hope and that there can always be found a place for it.

There won’ t be sad stories about heavy moments, no. I remember joy, laughs and bursting positivity from early morning till late night.  Unlimited energy sparkling around – either it was climbing the wall, playing theatre, drawing, swimming, adventures in the forest…you name it! There was always wish to be a part of everything, the feeling of a friendly shoulder. Many of them! Yes, next to bruised knees – also the moments of much more serious health problems we all knew existed and nobody pretended they didn’ t. Just…they never dominated. Receiving letters from friends back home feeling sorry for how difficult my summer must have been I had no clue what they were talking about. Since difficult were only goodbye’ s. There was happiness in the air. Love of life. And so much smiles around. Genuine ones. Amazing people. Creative and crazy in the best meaning of the word. I shared a room with a girl who after being a camper for a long time had returned as a volunteer like many did. Jen became one of my dearest friends also after the camp, a friend for life as we thought.  Life itself made some corrections in our plans – she lost her fight with leukemia just a few years later. But that is another story maybe for another time. Where tones are different and the line “I used to believe in forever, but forever is too good to be true” from the good old A.A.Milne’ s book unfortunately turned out to be true.

There’ re some friends from those days I am still in touch with – in several parts of the world, and no matter where life has taken us, we will always have something to share. Memories. About the „island”  of pure joy, love and hope. 

The first two photos – image courtesy of Google