by Dail Ballard
Executive Director, Camping & Retreat Ministries
I like order. I function better when my house is in order, when my work week is organized and when my life is relatively structured. When a hurricane is predicted, and tracking begins, that order becomes muddled. And, when the hurricane is literally at my back door, that order quickly turns to chaos mixed with angst and worry.
Finding peace in the storm can be difficult. My family and I have made the decision to stay put in our home in eastern NC for hurricanes and Nor’easters since moving here in 1991. While living out those decisions, I softly whisper prayers as the rush of the rain and wind pound the windows of my home. I wince when the power flickers and feel such weight when it finally goes out for an uncertain amount of time.
Hurricane Florence came and stayed, so you can imagine the order in my life was surely challenged – for days – even after the bands of wind moved oh so slowly away. There was so much to contemplate and process from the storm relative to family and friends and personal properties and our camps. The angst of disorder prevailed.
Upon realizing that family and friends and personal property all were relatively okay in the storm’s aftermath, my focus then turned to the camps of the NC UM Conference. Camp Chestnut Ridge wasn’t really affected by this storm. Camp Rockfish was minimally affected with some trees downed, flooded docks and power outages. Camp Don Lee faced the brunt of the storm situated on the banks of the Neuse River. It was devastating to see first glimpses of the damages, and conversations began about how best to share the impact of the storm with the rest of the world.
It initially felt very vulnerable to share pictures of the destruction and debris at Camp Don Lee via Facebook. What kind of angst would this bring to the order of our constituents’ lives, many of whom were also affected by this storm? We collaborated on content and submitted our post complete with pictures revealing the devastation.
While my staff and I have been fully overwhelmed by the impact of Hurricane Florence at Camp Don Lee, we have been equally overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and concern and generosity by those who have come to know the effect of the storm. We are grateful. We are humbled. And, we are reminded once again of the life-changing impact that this camp’s ministry has had on the lives of so many.
It will be a while before my life returns to the type of order I enjoy. Yet, when I think about those (many of whom I haven’t even met yet) who will help us through the chaos of this storm, I find great peace. And, I praise God for it.
To see more pictures from Camp Don Lee, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/donleecenter.