I wish I could take you out for coffee. I would sit with you on the back couch at Jilly Bean’s, sipping a blended vanilla chai. I could talk for hours, telling you stories of the ministry, the county, and the kids who have stolen my heart. We would share laughter and tears as I attempted to show you why I have fallen head-over-heels in love with Crossroads Farm and Hillsdale County.
I can’t, though. Take you out for coffee, that is. I’m only here four more days, and two of those will be spent on an overnight trip with my Bible study girls. Every second is scheduled, and I’m determined to squeeze in as much relational time with my friends and family as humanly possible. Let’s take a rain check on the physical coffee date, and instead I’ll tell you some stories via internet. It’s not as good, but grab some coffee and settle in… this could take a while. Bear with me as I try to communicate my heart, as I try to make you feel a fraction of the yanking this internship has done on the strings of my heart.
Story One: Cole
Let’s rewind to the first day of my internship. I was packing up my stuff to take to our car wash when the office phone rang. A boy named Cole*, 12 years old, needed a ride. “I can be at the Student Center in 2 minutes,” he said. “I have to go! I only have to raise $50 more before I can go to camp!” I told him I would take him, and sure enough, he showed up within two minutes.
We talked the entire way to Hillsdale. Actually, I misspoke. HE talked the entire way to Hillsdale. In the 15 minutes it took us to drive to town, go through the McDonald’s drive-thru for dollar drinks, and pull into Rite-Aid, I had learned all about his family. I don’t see my dad very much, he doesn’t really like me. He says I’m annoying. But he’s awesome! Really! He’s so awesome! He works at a car dealership and he said he’d come today. I hope he comes today. My mom’s getting remarried on Friday. The guy’s nice, but I don’t really like his kids. And I think we have to move. I’m excited for Hiawatha, are you?
The car wash started (and ended) very slowly, but before long, a huge red Ford truck pulled up. It was already practically spotless, but the tinted window rolled down and a way-too-well-coiffed-for-this-county man said “Heard there was a car wash around here.”
“DAD!” yelled Cole. A quick glance at his face confirmed my suspicions- his smile nearly wrapped around his head. Suddenly, it was Cole’s car wash. He started handing people towels and scrub brushes as he handed out orders. “You, do the windows. Zach- tires. TJ, get the bugs out of the front. But be careful! This is my dad’s truck!”
As our little team scrubbed the truck, Cole exchanged small-talk with his dad. “Dad, I’ve almost raised all my camp money by myself. Only $50 to go!”
“All by yourself, kid? Really?”
“Yeah, Dad, all by myself! I babysat and did car washes and I’m almost there!”
“That’s great, Cole. I’m proud of you, bud.” This produced another megawatt grin from Cole, who quickly ducked to dry a hubcap.
When we finished, Cole dad handed Paul his camp donation and jumped in his truck. As he started to pull away, he rolled down the window and yelled, “Love you, Cole. I’m so proud of you, son, I mean it. Have fun at camp!” And I thought Cole’s first two smiles had been huge….