It was like a reunion of the long-lost in a motion picture drama. She squealed his name and ran into his embrace. He scooped her into his arms, exclaiming how wonderful it was to see her again. I'm not sure whose face had the wider smile, whose face lit up more, Sammy's or Alia's. The pure joy they both radiated in that moment will stay with me forever. Love in its purest form - each heart celebrating the existence of the other, rejoicing in the ability to share a moment together. Hoping for many such moments.
Her first question when we set out for Camp Calumet was if Sammy would be there. Uncertain of the answer, we made no promises that we'd see him. Her love for him perhaps multiplied during our absence from Camp. Her joyful reaction did not stop at their reunion - even after two days, it was as if she was reliving that moment each time she saw him, joyfully leaping into his arms at dinner and inviting him to share another meal with us. When asked, "what was the best thing you did today?" she didn't say kayaking, riding on the pontoon boat, carving pumpkins, or myriad other wonderful things we did that day. Not Alia. Her response? "When I invited Sammy to dinner!" Now that's love.
Sammy's love for Alia is just as evident. A little more reserved, he makes no grand gestures, but you can read it all over his face; you can feel the love radiating from his smile. During the closing gathering, his answer to what his favorite part of the camp weekend included Alia, "especially Alia."
When it was time to make our way home, you could tell neither wanted to let the other go.
Over the course of the following week, Alia held Sammy close in the sharing of her Camp memories and in her prayers. She talked about him every day, told others about him repeatedly, and even used him as an example of someone she knows who is honest and fair for a Girl Scouts assignment. When asked what makes him honest and fair, she replied that he tells the truth about the bad stuff that happens in his country and prays for everyone there, especially the people to are hurting other people. If that isn't honest and fair, I don't know what is.
The memory of that movie-like reunion - Alia running gleefully and tearfully into Sammy's arms, will forever live in my memory.
Why are they such good friends? Alia's answer, "We make each others' souls sing."