Love and Light
Written By: Elisa Huhem
There I was. An eight-year-old girl, sitting crossed legged on the chair in the back of the room. My dad had invited me to tag along with him for the day. I did not know what we were going todo. I just knew I wanted to be by his side.
I looked around noticing that I was in a room surrounded by other girls older than I was. My dad got on the stage and began to talk to everyone. Sharing life experiences that I had heard time and time again. Everyone loved it. It ended with him getting heart attacked. What was this? Some girls from the room stormed to the stage after he was done and stuck little hearts with tape onto his suit. On the drive home, he let me read those notes. They were full of compliments and thank you notes, thanking my dad for taking the time to come speak to them. My dad continued to explain that the place we had just gone to was called, “Be the Best You Camp.” He continued to explain Barbara Jones’ vision for the camp and its purpose. I remember that even at such a young age I yearned to come to the camp and continue to experience more fully what I had caught a glimpse of that day.
Fast forward a couple years. I was finally twelve years old. I could finally attend the Be the Best You Camp that I was longing to attend since I was eight. However, that bright light and energy that filled that eight-year-old heart of mine was dim. My parents had just gotten divorced earlier that year and I did not want to do anything. I was struggling just getting out of bed in the morning. How was I supposed to survive a week long camp full of happy people full of light? I remember my twelve-year-old self being terrified to show up. What was it going to be like? I showed up and was met by so much love and light. Rebecca King was my counselor. I don’t remember details about the camp, but I will never forget the feeling that accompanied me that week. I was lacking so much, and during that week I was rejuvenated and filled with love and light. I promised myself that one day I would return and give back what I had received at such a critical time in my life.
Fast forward again. I had just turned twenty-three years old. I was studying and working at BYU and I received a random email. I opened it up and it was a link to apply to be a counselor for BBY. The application was due that same day at midnight. I said a prayer in my heart and got to work. I was able to finish the application only minutes before the application deadline. I remember finding out that I had been accepted to be a counselor. I was ecstatic. I showed up that summer before camp ready and yet nervous for what lay ahead. It had been over a decade since my last experience attending BBY. I showed up and was met with that same love and light. I showed up and Rebecca King, my counselor from so many years ago, was one of the coordinators. I could not believe my eyes. It had come full circle.
I was nervous because I had no idea who any of the girls were in my group, but I trusted that God would provide a way.The second I met my girls, my imperfect heart was filled with God’s perfect love for each of them. I learned so much each day from them. I loved serving alongside them. I grew to love them so deeply within such a short amount of time. The last night of camp I remember wondering if I had been able to impact them as much as I know I was impacted by my counselor when I attended BBY for the first time. I remember saying a prayer and pleading with God to bless them and to help me serve them and love them the way they needed individually.
The next morning, I woke up to a heart attacked door. I couldn’t believe my eyes. My girls had gotten together and written down the kindest words and stuck them on my door. I was brought back to that first heart attack moment at BBY as I watched my dad get several heart felt notes put on him. I was overcome with the love and light that I again was able to receive from such incredible girls. I learned an incredible lesson from my girls and from my interactions over the years with BBY.
I learned to approach the unknown challenges of life with love and light.
We all experience some level of ambiguity in life. Whether in relationships, school, work, etc...At its core, the fear of uncertainty is feeling uncomfortable with the unknown. As a result, we tend to avoid doing things because we are unsure of a positive outcome. However, I’ve come to realize that embracing ambiguity is a lot like embracing light. You can’t control it. You have to embrace it as it comes. The sun rises at its own pace. You can’t speed it up or slow it down. All you can do is be present and embrace it. Embracing the unknown entails being able to say, “ I may not know everything, but I know enough.” The light touches your heart and illuminates just enough for you to take a step forward. I still have BIG life decisions to make and the future begins to overwhelm me. The pressure to have all the answers begins to set in and grey clouds of uncertainty begin to cloud my vision. But I’ve come to know with all my heart that even the tiniest flicker of light dispels darkness. If you are struggling, have unanswered inquiries or don’t know exactly what you are doing, please know that you’re not alone.
My twelve-year-self could have never imagined what God has been able to do with my life so far. My future looked dark and bleak. However, he has been able to fill my life with so much light. If you are feeling lost, confused, or unsure about anything in your life, please be assured that this is a period of discovery not uncertainty. Experience the joy that comes as we trust God more and learn to bask in His divine light. When we obey God and seek His spirit, we can have full confidence that He is directing our steps, even when we may not know the end from the beginning. He is there.