[a tube of carmex]

[a tube of carmex]

One morning at the counselors’ meeting, we were given a task. Each team had to bring an object to the evening meeting. Any object.

It was a very tough day for me (and not just me) and as a result I completely forgot about this task until the time of the meeting came and someone mentioned “I have brought this.”

“Oops.” I rummaged through my pockets and realized that the only thing I had available was a tube of Carmex, my trustworthy pocket companion.

I asked if my team was okay with the object or maybe they had something else. They also forgot and agreed with the Carmex idea.

Everyone was curious why we were given such a task.

“Has everyone brought an object?” asked the camp director.

“Yeah,” the weary voices of counselors resounded in the gazebo.

“You have 5 minutes to come up with an idea of how the object you have brought resembles your team.”

“Huh?” I thought.

We all stared at the tube of Carmex that we had.

“It makes a mess when it’s squeezed out too hard,” said Masha who along with me wasn’t feeling too well.

I countered, “But it has the power to heal and prevent sicknesses…”

We stared at the red-capped yellow tube some more.

“Time’s up. Please share your reflections.”

It was our turn soon since our team was #2 and I got to be the official speaker once again. I glanced at the tube one last time and realized that I know what to say.

“Our team is like this Carmex. It’s a lip balm for those of you who don’t know what it is. It protects lips from chapping and it also helps when you’ve got a cold or something.”

“There are three things about this tube that can be related to our team.”

“One: if the balm stays inside the tube, it’s useless. It remains pretty and nice, but it’s completely useless. We can strive to remain pretty and look good in a camp, but if that will be our goal, we’ll be useless.”

“Two: if the balm is squeezed out in just a right amount, it helps to protect the lips from different things. I doubt that if this tube was alive, it would like the squeezing process much. After all, it’s no fun being squeezed.” I sighed and gazed at the Carmex. “No fun, indeed,” I added under my breath thinking back to the happenings of the day.

“Three: if you squeeze too much, you’ll run out of Carmex soon and the leftovers will be useless, too.” From the corner of my eye, I saw my fellow counselors nodding slightly in consent.

I paused, not wanting to end on such a dramatic note, yet impromptu speaking like that is not like writing a blog post when you have time to think.

“Praise be to God that He knows exactly how much balm should be squeezed out of us so that we help the others and not run out of ourselves completely,” I finished and smiled.

I smiled because I knew that what I have said was true.

I smiled because even though I have been crying a few hours prior to the meeting and wanted more than anything to simply throw in the towel and go home to my mom and just shut myself from everyone, He came and comforted me. It wasn’t a supernatural visitation, it was through a friend who understood what I have been going through, a friend who knew when to listen and when to encourage not to give up. It was through other friends who did not say anything but simply came to me and gave me a hug that said “I care about you” more clearly than they could convey using words.

Praise be to God. He knows the precise amount of the balm that we can share with others to help them and not to become a gooey mess, spilling ourselves without helping anyone.

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