You can almost feel all the jaws dropping as the lady staff of Summit California 2016 enters the annex area where the men have set up tables, chairs, painting supplies, lighting, food, and music for Ladies' Appreciation Night. Maybe that's because your jaw is dropping, too. It's beautiful, thoughtful, intentional, and all for you.
Don't get me wrong, we girls didn't do a half bad job for Men's Appreciation Night a few days prior, but this blew us out of the water by a long shot. Over and beyond, more than we could have imagined, let alone ask for. The men picked us up after a long day at the park, dressed in suits and ties, put us on their arms, and walked us down the road to our destination as live musicians sprinted to keep up with us along the way. They complimented us constantly using both cheesy pick up lines but also genuine observations about what they appreciated about us individually. They served us humbly and gratefully, never failing to help us with anything we could possibly need and encourage us as some of our poor artistic skills were realized. Two of the guys did a spin on Bob Ross (with a French accent!) and kept us smiling every minute. One of my guy friends wrote a speech about how much all the guys loved us, noticed us, and thanked God for us, and every girl went, "Aww," at least a dozen times. At the end of the night, every guy went to every girl to give her a hug and say thanks for all they did to pour out onto the students and each other. Even the guys that aren't into much hugging went out of their way to make sure every girl felt loved and wanted. We were escorted back around 12:30 a.m. and fell into our beds exhausted but more content and emotionally refreshed than we have been in maybe all the two weeks we have been here.
Summit Ministries is a fantastic program designed to help the young adults of our generation learn about the biblical worldview, why it matters, and how it can be applied. I was a student myself two summers ago, and came back to staff this year. My small group of 15 year old girls is not at all what I expected, but exactly the challenge God had for me coming into this new chapter of my life. They are a privilege to mentor and serve, but definitely a lot of responsibility as well. Sometimes caring so much about 8 people leaves little room to take care of yourself, and it is easy to become overwhelmed and feel isolated, even in a room of people you know love you and would do anything to make your life easier. The Summit staff this year has truly become a family, and I am going to miss them so much. But this night, this wonderful night of what it means to be pursued and loved and cared for, of what Christ gives His bride daily, of how we can show that we appreciate each other... this one I will remember until I am physically unable to, as my friend stated.
It's not hard to show you care. A few genuine words, intentional sentiment, and hearty laughs goes such a long way. Write a note of encouragement to someone you love today. Pour some sparkling cider, share stories, and live well.