Monday, November 28, 2005

November 28, 1980




My greatest accomplishment


Twenty five years ago to the day my mom went had her first contractions in the canned food aisle in the supermarket. Shortly after arriving at the hospital I came into the world. Twenty fives years. Wow, when you say it out loud it's kind of hard to believe. This feels bigger than 18 or 21 for some reason. I feel the need to take an inventory of the past twenty five years. I know it's not as much as those born before color TV. This past weekend I kept asking myself, what have I accomplished in 25 years? Have I made any difference in 25 years?

I realized that I've done and seen many things in just 25 years. I saw the Bengals lose a heartbreaking Super Bowl to the 49ers. I watched Peter Jennings narrate the coming down of the Berlin Wall. I've been to the White House and to a session of the Senate. I watched in awe as the Reds swept the A's to win the 1990 World Series. I've been to Disney World. I traveled the West. From the Grand Canyon to the hills of Yellowstone down to the falls of Yosemite. I traveled to Europe. I've walked the streets of Madrid and ascended to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Finally, I watched the end of the world trade center in September 2001.

What is my greatest accomplishment in 25 years? That's an easy one. My greatest accomplish by far are the six consecutive summers I spent in service to Shiloh. Above are two pictures that represent my accomplishment. The first was taken during my first summer at Shiloh in June 2000. The second was taken five years later in the summer of 2004. One is immediately struck by how much this camper had grown in just five years. The first time I met her I had to bend down to talk to her and five years later she was almost as tall as me. I keep these two pictures in a frame and two words come to mind every time I look at it. UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. My love for this camper exists not because she is perfect or always makes the right decisions. My love for this camper exists not because she is incredibly wealthy or famous. In the same way her kindness towards me is not out of a sense of obligation. Her love for me is not because I am wealthy or well known. Her love for me is not because I have all the answers. Her love for me is most certainly not because of my perfect smile. These two pictures represent unconditional love in its most simple form. It is an unconditional love formed out of promises made and promises kept.

But what of the next 25 years? What do I expect to see when I am 50? Very soon I hope to be working year around with Shiloh in the South Bronx. When I am 50, I believe the South Bronx will be completely transformed. One will not recognize the South Bronx in 25 years. It will be the envy of all of New York City. At 50, I and others working with Shiloh will witness every child of the South Bronx graduate high school. Impossible? Then you will be even more shocked in 25 years when you see every child of the South Bronx graduate college. A fool's hope? Of anything these past 25 years have taught me, then it is that nothing is impossible. It is not silly to believe a child can transcend their surroundings to achieve greater goals because through Shiloh I have seen it. It is not ridiculous to think a child can overcome their emotional suffering to attain a brighter future because through Shiloh I have held it. Anything is possible. I consider myself not an idealistic dreamer, but a realistic believer. A realistic believer who is confident in the future. A future that will see me, former campers, and others working with children of Shiloh yet to be born. The road ahead is long. This is the journey I am on, a journey that began on November 28, 1980.


CJE




Coming Next Monday: One Down, Three To Go



6 comments:

Lori B.,  5:49 AM  

Happy Birthday Christopher! What a fabulous read to start my Monday. Your insight, your honesty, and your love for Shiloh's children are a beautiful gift to them, to Shiloh, and to those who will read this. You are being prepared, and I look forward to the day you are back here serving at Shiloh year round. Thank you for following Him, how amazing is God!

adrienne 6:45 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
adrienne 6:48 AM  

Happy Birthday!!! How can you make me cry at 8 on a Monday morning! Thank you for your love for the kids. Thanks for a reminder of what is really important. Man it sucks not being there, I can't imagine how it feels to you when you've invested so much more time than I. Love you!!

ace,  7:36 AM  

Just wanted to add to the Happy Birthday wishes! And thank you for taking your readers down a real-life road filled with sentiment, true love and amazing hope. "Jesus came not to condemn the world, but to save it." Surely Christ had these precious Shiloh kids, & those that labor/love them, in mind when He said those words. Thanks for filling your first 25 years with more servant-love for the forgotten/underserved than many churched-people achieve in a life time. And best wishes as you surrender to God's exciting plan for your next 25 years! ace

Kiersten,  9:02 PM  

Chris,
I hope you had a great birthday :) Adrienne told me about your recent post, and gave me the website-I love the way you put things so simply, but in an incredibly inspiring way. Thank you for reminding me that these things are possible, and don't worry, I'll be there when these "dreams" become reality. I admire you a lot and hope things are going well for you.

J-Wild 5:51 PM  

Great post, happy birthday bud!

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