Darnell asked me to prom every day.
I tried to make excuses.
You’ll have more fun with another date. There are tons of girls who would love to go with you. I don’t like you that way. What about our age difference?
See, Darnell was seven and I was nineteen, and neither of us attended high school. We lived at a camp for kids with cancer, Darnell as a camper, me as a counselor.
I discovered the camp while flipping through an outdated booklet intended for corporate trainers. Hiring for the camp ended in April. It was May. I called anyway. A newly hired counselor quit the previous week, and the director hired me over the phone. He seemed surprised a girl from Indiana called about a camp in New Jersey. I wasn’t. I knew I was supposed to be there.
God whispered it in my ear. Sure, I would have preferred a message from a burning bush or a shouting angel, but God was teaching me to shut out the world and pay attention to His whispers.
When I arrived at camp, the director assigned me to the youngest girls, the Robins. The Robins were five-year-olds from low income, inner-city homes. The Robins also happened to have cancer, all of them.
I didn’t shine in my new position. Our cabin was filthy. We were late to all activities, and the only time those Robins bathed was when the rain pounded down, and I corralled the girls outside and greased them up with soap.
Regardless of what activity I worked, Darnell took each session with me. If I taught four arts and crafts sessions in one day, Darnell made four bird feeders. If I faked my way through leading water aerobics, Darnell, who hated swimming, bounced along with me.
I finally accepted Darnell’s invitation to the prom when his tiny hands brought me a fistful of weeds, and he told me age didn’t matter when you were in love.
We attended prom and took a limo from one side of the camp to the other. We walked through a balloon arch, and we munched on finger food. All night I wondered how many of the kids on the dance floor would see a real prom.
Two days later, Darnell left camp. No time for good-byes. His white blood cell count fell too low. After Darnell left, daily activities and the Robins kept me busy, but even now, my head drifts to that little boy with a fistful of weeds, and to God’s whispers that left me changed forever.
Question for you: When you hear God whisper, do you follow Him or wait until He starts to shout? What whispers have you heard lately?