Think Big – By Katie Wallingford

Think Big

I recently read in a magazine article that humans are egocentric by nature. According to this belief, even with the best intentions, we naturally place ourselves at the center of our world. As things take place in our life, we think about them from the standpoint of, “How does this affect me?” The problem with that is, if we were standing in the center of all that’s going on, then we could only see what was right around us. But if we think bigger and zoom our perspective out, we can see more significance in what’s happening and understand how things relate to each other.

Imagine walking through a maze. It can be a dizzying experience. Some friends and I ventured through one at an amusement park several years ago, and I remember losing my bearings and not being able to tell which way I’d come in and which way I was headed. As I followed long, winding pathways that led me only to dead-ends, I felt so disoriented that I almost lost hope of making it out. If I’d been able to zoom out and catch a glimpse of the big picture, it would have been a different story. If I had brought along a map of the pathways, or if there had been a mirror above us revealing the aerial view, I would have been able to see where I fit into the big picture and more easily navigate my path. With a big picture perspective, I imagine that my journey would have been much smoother and I would have felt more confident along the way.

Now imagine that the maze represents any challenging situation in which we feel trapped. Is there an overhead mirror, or a map that will help us see the big picture? The overhead mirror represents spiritual sense. It gives an exalted view that enables us to break out of the box that we’re in and see farther. With that expanded perspective, we’re able to be receptive to God’s direction to get through the maze. Hymn 115 expresses the protection that comes from being led by God. It reads, “When we wandered, Thou hast found us; When we doubted, sent us light; Still Thine arm has been around us, All our paths were in Thy sight.” God always sees things clearly– after all, God made everything in the first place — and spiritual sense elevates our thought to see things as God does.

As far as carrying a map goes, think of what purpose a map serves. It outlines the route from point A to point B. Christian Science study serves the same purpose; it reveals the path from the material view of life to a spiritual understanding of Life. The more we study a map, the more we’ll recognize the trail when we actually encounter it. We’ll be able to say, “Oh, this must be that funny turn near the middle of the maze.” Similarly, the more we study Christian Science, the more we’ll be able to discern situations, too. No longer will we feel like every bend in the road is a surprise or a mystery. Instead, we can spiritually discern what is really happening and how to navigate through the situation.

By being God-centered, we can see everything clearly. Doesn’t coming to Kohahna help us become more God-centered in our lives? First, camp gives distance from the situations at home. A change of scenery helps us gain perspective and see how limited our old viewpoint is. Second, we meet people who have already walked the maze, or encountered similar situations before. They can share helpful ideas and serve as role models, giving us footprints to follow in our quest to better know God. Third, camp stretches us everyday, which means that we are offered more challenges, along with tools and support to successfully apply what we’ve learned in Christian Science. When we return home to face the maze dilemma there, we have a better understanding of God and more experience to draw from and help us through. Things are often easier the second time around, and when we reencounter situations at home, we already have the confidence from our successes at camp.

Perhaps most importantly, camp turns thought away from self. Life at Kohahna illustrates the practical importance of selflessness and generosity, and it provides countless opportunities to put them into action. The more we’re thinking about others, the less we’re dwelling on ourselves and our own challenges. As a result, the paradigm shifts — we’re no longer at the center of the world, and instead we see a much broader view. Our study of Christian Science and application of its principles point out our pathway to spiritual freedom, and spiritual sense will always reveal the true concept of what is going on.

K-Notes – By Katie Wallingford

We never leave camp the same as we were when we arrived.  There is always something we take home with us even if it isn’t evident right away.  After all, what’s the use of coming to camp if it leaves you where it found you?  It’s not just about some fun activities to do during the summertime (even though, yes, camp is a blast!).  It’s not even just about the friends you make (even though, yes, the friendships at camp will last a lifetime).  Beyond the fun times, and beyond the meaningful friendships, camp shows its true value in your life when you find yourself in some challenging situation later in the year, and—just when you need it—a summertime lesson comes to thought and guides you through.

This fall I found myself dressed entirely in black wearing a creepy doll mask, concealed behind a sheet in a dark room of a haunted house. Had I even been to a haunted house before?  Nope.  Had I mastered the skill of spooking people?  Certainly not.  Still, here I was: a ghoul for a night. Interestingly, even though I was the one doing the spooking and scaring, I found myself out of my comfort zone.  Apparently, scaring people isn’t a highly social activity. I discovered this as I stood in the dark waiting for people to walk by with nothing but the soundtrack of a cackling witch to keep me company.  Frankly, I was feeling my own version of homesickness, yearning to be in the company of my friends who were spooking in other rooms of the house. I was too timid to scream loudly or to burst out in front of a group of people, which made the first few groups to pass through difficult for me.  All I could think about was my own discomfort.


Then during a quiet moment between groups, I thought back to a similar feeling that I’d had this summer when I went on the Challenge to play with one of the teams.  During one evening’s game of Capture the Flag, I was on defense very close to our team’s flag.  The other team was quietly approaching, and just as with the haunted house, I was far from my comfort zone.  Standing in the dark presented the illusion that I was alone with a lot of responsibility on my shoulders.  However, the turning point came when I remembered that even though I felt alone standing there in the dark silence, there were other team members doing the same.  If it were daylight, I wouldn’t be feeling nearly as alone because I would be able to spot my teammates a few yards away.  With that (not only their presence but also their mutual efforts to do their best and be alert), my discomfort was replaced with confidence.  Then I thought about the other team: it consisted of campers and counselors whom I loved dearly.  They had the same pure motive to do their best that I had.  Once I remembered that we were all playing together in this game, even though we represented opposing teams, I realized that there was no true adversary trying to attack.  The Capture the Flag game progressed harmoniously, and I successfully and joyfully filled my role on defense.

This memory was just what I needed during my ghoul adventure.  Just as with Capture the Flag, when I viewed everyone involved—customers and ghouls alike—as participating together, then my discomfort completely disappeared.  Everyone had the same goal of having fun, so naturally we’d all be working together for that goal. The lesson here reminds me of what Paul says in I Corinthians, “As the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.  There should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.” (I Cor. 12:12, 25)  This simple thought of the unity of everyone involved corrected my view of the situation and enabled me to expand my comfort zone.

Not everyone would guess that a ghoul at a haunted house would be standing behind that sheet thinking about summer camp, but in my case it was thinking about a summertime lesson that enabled me to persevere during an uncomfortable situation.  Experiences like this go to show the value of the growth that happens at camp, and I love thinking about the innumerable other ways that Kohahna’s lessons are being brought to life throughout the year.