The Gift of a Spider

By Chelsea Lam

Despite my caffeine, car worship, lavender oiled temples, and the rockstar volunteers that surrounded me, morning four of camp had me feeling less like a ‘granola Mary Poppins’ and more like Katniss in the arena.

“Hawks, Coyotes, find your groups and have a seat please!”

I glanced down at my Welcome Activity script one last time and surveyed the room. The PowerPoint was (finally) up and running, the animal track castings for our guest speaker’s presentation were carefully arranged on the stage, and a few last kiddos were wrestling their name tags as they trickled in from the sign-in table.

“Mrs. Lam!” My wide-gaze narrowed downward to meet a now familiar pair of eyes making a beeline towards me from the door.

“Good morning, Demarkus! Come on in, and find a s-”

“I saw a spider in my car!” His feet came to an abrupt stop as the words erupted from his mouth.

“Very cool!” I cooed automatically. I began to straighten and regather my thoughts as I caught his eyes again. I saw for the first time that they were bright, but also sober. All of his attention was fixed on my face. His declaration hung in the space between us, until at last I began to grasp it.

That morning on the way to camp Demarkus had seen a spider, but what’s more, he had found an eight-legged gift from the Father just for him. Suddenly, I felt like the patriarch Jacob waking startled from sleep. This was the moment in which all of the work, worship, and play of the days prior had culminated to reveal the ordinary as “wildly wonderful,” as worthy of pause, as created by God who loves us. And I very nearly missed it.

As a group, we began day four of camp by acknowledging and praising God for Demarkus’ wonderful little spider and for giving him (and me) eyes to see it.

As Creation Care Camp season approaches again this year, I am grateful to revisit this treasured “bethel” moment – when an eight year old little boy with big brown eyes taught me again the very thing that I had set out to share. “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”[1]

Wild Wonder Year One is available now! Click here to learn more.


[1] Genesis 28:17b (ESV)

Chelsea Lam is the Program Manager for Central Texas A Rocha & A Rocha USA. She is a graduate of St. Edward’s University and the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Chelsea has experience as an educator, camp facilitator, and youth minister. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and daughter.
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