The Unexpected Summer Part 4

Chapter 5- Just Camp

Camp is a lot of work. So much so that I only got a few entries written over the course of the week. The theme was Out of the Box and we discussed Jesus’ life and talked about how we try to confine him into a box… or any other container-like object… like a pit, or something.

Anyway, can’t have a Zachary Gilmore experience without a crippling panic attack...

Journal Entry 7-24-2018


It feels like I’m a million miles away but everything I do affects the people I love a hundredfold. What’s the point of that!? What’s the point of serving people if you don’t get the opportunity to be with them?

I swear, I hate doing sound. This is the worst possible [cut off by an aggressive scribble that tore through roughly 4 pages]

I hate hurting myself just to try and earn a love I never truly receive. You say you’ll never load us with more that we can handle but I can’t handle this.

I can’t handle the stress of all of this. I can’t handle the minimal relationships. I can’t handle being loaded with everything. I can’t handle this anger. I can’t handle the reality that my life will become unbearable again after camp. I don’t want to be here.

Journal Entry 7-25-2018

“Million Miles Away”

The hump of the week is here and my panic attack yesterday proved that my stability is not where I want it. I want to make it through the week, but I also want to be present and the best I can be.

I’ve got a lot of people looking out for me, but I’m also my own worst enemy.

Journal Entry 7-28-2018

“Silence Wastes Away Bones”

Psalm 32

Camp is done. As stressful as it was, I was surprised that I had found the moments to feel Your presence in the thundering noise around me.

As easy as it would be to see Camp as a blur, I actually see it as a brushstroke. Camp does not mean everything if I recall what every bristle did, but because of the color and life it produced. The memories and emotion are still there, but it can seem disorienting when you focus too closely on the individual strokes because the painting is so much bigger than that.

The narrative is vast, collaborative, and something we will likely understand only partially here on Earth.

I cannot remain silent and let my bones waste away in my groaning. I must sing unto the mountains so that it may echo to the world.

Since I introduced the idea of trips home being stressful, I should say that my trip home from Camp was great. I was happy to be done, I told a bus full of students to “shut up,” a random old man called me beautiful or ugly (wasn’t super sure), and I realized these kiddos were growing on me...

Chapter 6- The Stupid Ending

Journal Entry 7-29-2018

“No More ‘More of the Same’”

Please… let this not become more of the same. Let this not follow the script it has followed a million times before. I know it's messy and not the easiest hand to play, but don’t let this fade into the void like it does every other time.

Don’t let this summer end with me falling back into the pit. Don’t let who I’ve become become who I was before. Don’t let me get my hopes up for the millionth time only to force myself through the pain of realizing I was chasing a phantom.

You’ve answered “no” so many times before. I just really want to hear a “yes,” I really want to live in reality, and not some reverie meant to substitute it. I don’t want any more “more of the same” … please.

“I really want to trust you, but I can’t trust myself to listen.”

“I know you don’t trust yourself to listen, but I promise I’ll wait for you to come back.”

Journal Entry 7-31-2018

“No Ending, Not Yet”

“There will be no ending. Not Yet at least. A period perhaps, but the story will continue.

You will find your next step.

You will find the order to grow.

You will breathe comfortably, soon.

The pit will not house you any longer.

Love will overwhelm you.

You will wait for it to deplete, but it will flood.

You will tremble at its weight.

But you’ll need to return it.

Send it back into the world around you.

Pour out all that love you collect.

Because this is the reason you needed it.

Not to find comfort for a moment.

But to be part of the chain.”

I tremble. I’m terrified by the road ahead. So what do I do to trust You? How do I prevent this downfall before it happens? How do I put on this harness to repel down the cliff before me?

Journal Entry 8-1-2018

“Out of the Pit”

“He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and He set my feet upon the rock, making my steps secure.” Psalm 40:2

So… what are we doing today?

My feet are upon the Rock, You have made my steps secure. I keep glaring toward the pit, my old home, but I know You call me to run as far away from it as possible, at Godspeed.

I won’t be able to help people out of my pit, because it was only mine. Only one person will ever be there, and if I linger too long, he’ll return.

I need to leave the Shire, start the journey East. In the words of Emily, “What are We doing today?” (Do I capitalize We because You’re a part of it?)

So, what’s the move?

Journal Entry 8-2-2018

“One Week”

Am I allowed to trust in You while also being terrified about the coming week? It’s a human reaction, but maybe it’s too human. Maybe it’s something I’m holding on to, but I also think it’s part of my code.

Am I allowed to ask for something big? I know that it is all according to Your will, but can I ask You for the biggest thing I’ve ever asked for before? It’s bold and inappropriate for me to even suggest that you realign the whole of reality for me, but I wonder if I’m allowed to ask.

Am I allowed to ask You for something I’ve always wanted but seldom found the grace of? Is it too much to ask? Will it put me on Your bad side? (of course not) Can I ask it anyway, even though I expect a “no?”

Can I be content?

Journal Entry 8-3-2018

“This is so Stupid!”

My whole life is so stupid. The things I obsess about, the way I view the world, the way I look toward the future, past, and present. It’s all so stupid. It’s never practical or realistic, it’s always dramatic and prone to disappointment.

That being said… yesterday was mad stupid… but, somehow, in a good way. I went out, in the middle of a thunderstorm just to go to Books-a-Million and Target and what happened?

Exactly what I secretly wish would happen when I go out just to get out of the house… I bumped into people I know and care about. I’m shown that people exist in the real world. It’s not just when we’re at church/work/school, it’s everywhere, all the time. People living their lives, just like I’m trying to, even when I stumble. It’s so easy to forget the reality of life when it’s not in your face, so I really appreciate the occasional random encounter.

Journal Entry 8-8-2018

“I Don’t Want to Go”

Is this how it’s going to end? Amidst a panic attack? My whole life is so stupid. I’m on the brink of tears because I can’t accomplish basic human tasks. I’m crying because I’m afraid a bunch of teenagers are gonna stop caring about me. I’m defeated because no matter how much effort I put into reinforcing myself, I’ve tripped, and now I can’t do anything about the fall.

Is this how I let the curtain fall? Is this the closing You had planned for this chapter? Will any of this mean anything tomorrow or have I experienced this radical summer only to reflect on it and grow more depressed comparing it to where my life may end up? Does life go on, or does it just become a memory for a broken man to forget in his moments of excruciating pain?

Will We go quietly into this good night, or have you planned something worth it? Something big or something small, but something that gives us meaning? That gives us hope? That gives us love?

And then, the summer ended. Nothing too big or dramatic (disappointingly), but it came to a close. But it also happened, and now I’ve written it into this, so now it’s a story. Which helps justify my claim of being a storyteller. Thank you, for being an audience, a participant, and a friend.

To Zach 8-5-2018

“Keep it Simple, Stupid”

Zachary Gilmore, so caught up in the story that he forgets to look around and breath a little. Breath. Breath for the rest of your life. Breath without ceasing. Breath till you just can’t do it anymore. And live. Live your life, chase your passions, follow your callings, fall in love (for the love of Me), and breath. You want this summer to mean something? Then MEAN it. Don’t jump for the pit at the first sign of danger. Live your life, live it for Me, but also live it for yourself. Love yourself, find joy, be at peace, have patience, be kind, be good, remain faithful, be gentle with yourself, and have the self control to treat yourself better than you have in the past. You’re worth it, kid.