Background: I wrote this over the summer when I was going into my Senior year of High School. At Bible camp, sometimes we play night games like hide and seek, but in the dark. There are rules that vary for different age groups, so it can be safe and fun for all. This poem is about a close friend who wasn’t found and we didn’t realize it until some time after the game ended. She has a few medical issues, so knowing that increased my panic when we were searching for her. Her name is Bethany, by the way.
TW/CW: mentions of anxiety.
Last revised: July 6, 2022
When There’s Nothing You Can Do
We forgot about you
because we were told you were in your cabin, safe and sound.
Then we started to freak out as we searched up and down camp, running around with flashlights
Looking for you
You were missing
And this wasn’t the first time.
I prayed that we would find you and that you’d be okay
As I became anxious and yelled out, “Bethany!”
We regret our decisions
We were panicking
I wasn’t involved last time this happened, but I heard bits about it.
I wished I could’ve been there for you
But, you were fine the next morning, it seemed.
The camp is huge. To search every place in the dark logically, it’d take hours,
But that’s when the stress of time kicks in.
Because every second counts, you could be in terrible danger, so finding you immediately is vital.
We ran up the stairs, called out your name, and prayed to God.
Shortly after, you were found.
We thanked God and hustled back down the stairs
Sat down in a circle of six of us, being there for you.
Crickets chirped. The stars were so beautiful and visible.
Two girls on both sides of you had their arms on your back,
For reassurance that they were there
Reminding you quietly that you’re not alone
We all prayed independently, sat in silence
Staring at you, then at the stars
It was a peaceful moment, yet my anxiety made me worry so bad
I didn’t know if you hit your head or if you had any critical injuries
I felt helpless, didn’t know how to help you, but I wanted to
You were not in the right mental state,
I was worried for you
I care about you
Even if I don’t show it when you’re healthy, right then I cared about your safety SO MUCH
I hated to see you in this state
I want the best for you
I just want you to be okay because I care
I felt helpless, so I sat next to you and let you know I’m here.
That’s all I could do then. I’m just here, with you.
I may not know what you’re going through, but you’re not alone in it.
I’m right here
It’s okay, Bethany. I’ll stay up all night just to make sure you’re okay.
We were told to go to sleep, the program director would take care of her
Some protested, I just had to trust her to do her job, even though she doesn’t know you like I do.
I wanted to be there for you all night,
But I knew I needed rest to do my responsibilities the next morning
So I fell asleep praying for you and worrying…
The next day, you were fine.
As if nothing ever happened
I was relieved,
then went on with my day.
It’s strange how feelings shift dramatically in less than twelve hours
I was anxious for you, Bethany,
Now I am glad you’re okay, and went on with my responsibilities with that eerie relaxing feeling about it all.
After all that
I found it hard to believe, but
I thought it’d be rude to bring it up,
So I accepted that reality as I saw you run around being the bubbly self you are,