Ever had a good conversation that kept you up until midnight or 2:00 a.m.? A conversation that released your story from within your soul? There’s a certain magic that takes over late-night talks—you become braver. Walls crumble. Relationships form.
I can generally count on experiencing several of these talks at Kampmeeting, or really, any time I get together with Kinship folks. Many of my friendships through Kinship are long distance. Kampmeeting is our opportunity to come together from D.C., California, New York, Canada, and even farther. So when we meet up, sleep is often forgone in favor of connection and long talks.
These late-night talks aren’t only reserved for friends I already have, though. This year I was pleasantly surprised by a spontaneous 2.5-hour talk with a new friend. We hadn’t spoken previously, but I introduced myself and the next thing I knew, we were swapping stories until past midnight. Our stories were similar: left empty and disillusioned by the church, struggles with authenticity with those who should be trustworthy, pressure to “play the role” that’s expected (regarding sexuality, femininity/masculinity, and what it means to be a good Adventist). We didn’t solve these problems. Sometimes it’s enough to know you’re not alone.
Some late-night talks aren’t as serious. I connected with my roommate (whom I’d never met before) unexpectedly one night over silly YouTube videos. We spent hours going back and forth, sharing our favorites and laughing over cat videos and YouTubers. In a few minutes, we discovered that we had quite a bit in common. Something simple can spark connection.
I attended the Women’s Retreat before Kampmeeting and found myself staying up super late the last night. But not for a serious late-night talk. Rather, to finish a 1,000-piece puzzle. We couldn’t not finish it. So, of course, a small group of us braved the late hour to determinedly put pieces together. One after the other until finally, we had our completed image. Sometimes relationships are built by quietly working together. A common goal unites.
I could describe other moments of laughter and fun, or talk about my favorite speakers and what I learned. But truly, at its core Kampmeeting is about connection. One-on-one soul connection. Being vulnerable with people like you, who know your story, who share your story. Because this is what community feels like, and this is family.
See you next year!