6/2/2016 9:00:00 AM PERSPECTIVE Mercy at summer camp
BY KARA ECKHARDT
(Editor's note: The author is a rising sophomore at Catholic Central High School in Troy who worked as an intern for The Evangelist last summer.)
There comes a time in every person's life where they meet people who change them. It is said that "God doesn't give you the people you want; He gives you the people you need -- to help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you, and to make you the person you were meant to be."
I believe that every person comes into your life for a reason. Sometimes they hurt you. How you deal with this hurt shows what kind of person you are.
When I was really young, I had not yet experienced any time where everything would not be OK. It's amazing actually how little time it takes for what seems to be your whole world to change.
One summer, when I was eight years old, I went to camp. I made great friends and had an amazing time. I thought that it was us against the world. I kept in contact with those people even when I went back to my school and they went back to theirs.
The next summer, I went back to that same camp. We had made plans about all of the cool things we would do -- but, somehow, things had changed.
Suddenly, I was being left out. I went to camp every day not sure who was going to be my friend that day. My every move was judged; people I thought I knew had turned their backs on me. The worst part of it all was that I had no idea why it was happening.
I thought about what kind of person it would make me if I acted the same way back. So, no matter what happened or how I felt inside, I was never mean to anyone in return. I stayed true to myself and rose above it all. I never wavered from who I was that whole summer.
I would ask God why this was happening to me, but I didn't truly understand until the aftermath. Not until after a hurricane is over do you see how much damage has really been done.
One night, I was in bed, tears rolling down my face, and I looked up and said that I forgave anyone who had hurt me. I immediately felt a rush of peace. I realized that holding onto my anger or confusion was going to do nothing for me.
I was able to put aside my feelings and show those kids from camp mercy. Since forgiving them, I have become a stronger person. Through this experience, I also made some really great friends -- friends I otherwise may not have met, had I not had the others turn away from me.
That helped me to see that holding on to sadness or a situation I couldn't control does nothing. Instead, showing mercy would make me feel a lot better. My new friends were there for me when I was at my weakest moments.
As I look back on my nine-year-old self, I see that I am a completely different person because of that. I am really grateful for these people, because mercy is a life skill I needed to learn.
I know now what it feels like to not feel wanted. I know now what it feels like to not be good enough for people's standards. I need to make sure that no one else I meet ever feels like that, because it is a horrible feeling.
I was put in a situation in which I had no power, and all I could do was stay true to myself. I have since been able to move forward in my life as a stronger person, because I was able to show mercy.