This weekend I was hired to be entertainment for a group of middle school kids at a camp in Florida. The agreement was for me to play for an hour and a half on Friday night, and then on Saturday night at the camp fire, I would lead a guided meditation, and then do two songs.
Being that we were at a camp in the middle of nowhere, It was agreed that I could just roam around, or help out if needed on Saturday during the day. I could basically do what I wanted in between my scheduled performance times, and on Saturday morning, I decided to go hang out and watch the kids do all the rope courses. (you can only meditate beside the lake for so long)
Soon enough, I found myself helping out with the zip-line.
The kids would zip past us, and then again go past us in the other direction, and then slowly they would come to a stop near where we were stationed. I would then pull this platform on wheels beneath them and there was a lady who would unhook them. I gave every one of them a high-five as they came down the steps of the platform, and said “Good job!”
Down on the ground, we knew when someone was really afraid, because they took the longest to slide off the tall platform. Some of the kids didn’t have any trouble at all, they would just slide right off as soon as the okay was given to “Zip Away!” Some of them had to be coaxed a little, and in one case, the entire camp had to cheer someone off the platform. Every one of them that climbed up there, rode the zip-line down, and I watched them closely. Especially the one’s who were afraid.
The kids who had been afraid would be shaking from the experience. They would be totally overwhelmed, not really knowing what to say. We would help them down the steps, and I made sure to give these kids an extra “Good job!” and “Way to go!” along with the high-five.
The one thing they all had in common, no matter how long it had taken them to slide off the big platform and no matter how loud they had screamed as they zipped passed us, was a gigantic smile. They had done it!
I watched them closely, as they got their “ground legs” back and they walked back over to where the other kids were gathered. I saw the look of awe and amazement on their faces as their brains computed, “I DID IT!!!” And I noticed that each and every one of them, even the one’s who hadn’t been so afraid, were walking with a little extra spring in their step.
The experience reminded me of working on a construction crew and having to get used to working very high up in the air on scaffolding. (Yes, I have actually done manual labor before) Then I thought of how much fun it had been to zip-line through the mountains in Costa Rica. I didn’t do any of the rope courses on Saturday, but I could have with no problem.
But what I didn’t tell the kids was that I had been a nervous wreck for days before this weekend, because I was nervous about playing for them. On Friday, I was left alone to occupy and entertain them for a solid hour. I had no idea what this experience was going to be like, and there wasn’t any way to find out, but to “just do it.”
During the drive over on Friday, I got a text from a close friend of mine, who I had confided my extreme nervousness to. It read; “God is already there. God is in your car. God is in your heart. God asked you to go. So there you have it!” I kept driving, but would be lying through my teeth if I said that I didn’t think about making a last minute cancellation.
I made it through the Friday night event and did well, and then on Saturday night it went outrageously well. It never ceases to amaze me that there is a part of me who will do just about anything to keep me from what I love the most in this world. Even after all these years of performing and being in front of people, I can still become almost paralyzed with fear.
But I always do it anyway, shaking hands and all.
On Saturday night when we were doing those “call and response” songs at the camp fire, with me singing a line, and the kids all singing it back to me, … I disappeared. I floated. I was pure one hundred percent SPIRIT. We became this “One” entity. YES!!!
You see, once you slip yourself off the platform, it is good. It is great. It is life its self. You are ALIVE.
and today I couldn’t help but notice that I was walking with a little extra spring in my step.