“Hey Google, play (obscure 90s Christian band)”

Last week, I found myself playing with a new toy I received from Lauren and the boys for Father’s Day, desperately trying to remember the name of a band I had on heavy rotation 20 years ago.

For a summer job in the year 2000, I decided to forego the comforts of one Salvation Army camp for another, ending my 3-year career at Roblin Lake (RIP) and travelling to the wilds of Maine for a 2-month counsellor gig.

This was pretty big for me, to be honest. Looking back, I can’t recall ever having gone anywhere on my own like that. My semester at University the previous year had been in Ottawa where I grew up, and all my previous camp experiences had been alongside trusted buds.

Even when we were mandated to quit attending a camp in Quebec for one on Ontario, friends were there. That summer, though, my parents were dropping me off and I was hoping to connect with someone, anyone who could even come close to replicating the type of friend I’d made at my old camp.

That all fell into place pretty quickly, thank goodness. During orientation games, someone made a poop joke and I affirmed it by stating “poop’s funny.” Just like that, I was the funny new kid. I became pals with some amazing  Camp Sebago veterans who brought me with them on runs into town, invited me to a Bible study group, and made me feel at home.

But it wasn’t all perfect. I distinctly remember waking up some mornings and prying myself out of bed with the self-assurance that this would be the furthest I’d be from returning to my camp-issued cozy red blankets added into my sleeping bag for warmth on the unseasonably cold and rainy mornings.

If someone were to ask me how to define depression, or where I maybe started to realize I had an anxiety disorder, that would be the answer right there.

It was odd, really. I was having a great time, and would return for each of the following 3 summers – including the month-long pre-camp and while inviting friends from college to come along and partake in the wonders of New England.

But on those mornings, I could not shake the feeling that something was very wrong deep inside me.

Which brings me to Bleach, the name of that obscure 90s Christian band.

I was able to travel home for a long break in August that summer, bringing a friend home who meant a great deal to me during those summers, although I didn’t realize how much too late. I picked a Bleach CD (congrats if you guessed that was the band) and had this song on repeat for days:

And I can’t wait to get out of here
And I can’t fake through this pain I’ll feel
It’s been too long, that I’ve been gone
But now I’m coming back, I’m coming back
So long, it’s gone, this burden that I carry
And I’ll give it all to you, to you
And I’ll give it all to you, to you, to you
And I wade out and the waves are bigger
I can’t sort through all this junk so I’ll surrender
And I’ve gone on, way too long
And now I’ve had enough, I’ll give it up to you
This storm is great, but you are so much greater
I’ll give it all to you, to you
And I’ll give it all to you, to you, to you
And I’ll give it all to you, to you
And I’ll give it all to you, to you, to you
And I can’t wait to see you standing there so bright and special
And all the waves that crashed around my head
Fall silent at the whisper of your voice.

20 years later, this incredibly mediocre tune still resonates. I’ve woken up with that familiar, nagging feeling during this period of physical distancing, and calling out to the Nest Mini for another spin of this tune has actually helped a lot.

No idea why I’m sharing that story today, other than I remembered I have a website and thought I should probably start using it again.

Take care of yourselves, friends.

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