Saturday, July 07, 2007

lessons from camping

Some of you already know that I have a love/hate relationship with camping. I LOVE certain parts of the experience: telling stories and singing songs around a crackling camp fire; looking at a sky full of bright stars; listening to outside noises from inside a dry and warm sleeping bag, etc. I HATE other parts of the experience: the hassle of setting up and tearing down 'camp'; the inevitable soggy and muddy clothes; the smell of stale, wet ashes the morning after a camp fire; and two more words CAMP BATHROOMS!

Our family joined dear friends earlier this week. Overall, it was a wonderful experience. I am married to a man who idealizes camping and looks for ways to improve his efficiency and preparedness each time we go out. This works out well for me as I am not left with all the dirty work of packing, cooking, cleaning and unpacking. I'm actually quite spoiled. We did have to tear down in the cold rain on July 4, but the days prior were IDEAL camp days.

And, despite the fact I've been dragging my heels on us becoming a 'camping family', God met me this week. Thought I'd share a portion of my journal:

Reading on a comfy lounge chair -- listening through the trees to my 13-year-old son picking out the chords and melody to "O Worship the King" on Scott's camp guitar.
One of my favorite parts of this new adventure of camping is listening to the mix of happy sounds all around us. I feel like I'm watching one of those edited music montages as people pass by our site and I hear snatches of activity and conversation.
While I was reading, a mom and her small son rode by on bikes. The mom on her tall 10-speed and her son - blond hair poking out beneath helmet, sandaled feet pedaling quickly to pace with his parent. It was a fun picture -- the kind of snapshot that would look great on a camp brochure with the caption "ENJOY QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY" underneath.
What really caught my attention, though, was the snatch of conversation I overheard between the bikers. The tone of voice made it clear that Mom was telling a story to her son and it was clear that the story had been told before, "Yep, you were born there, but then we moved to..." and they were gone.
Although, son ws intently focused on the stony road in front of him, there was something about his posture that told me that he LOVED this story. Something about his squared shoulders and lifted head told me this -- even though my view of him lasted only a few seconds.
How obvious it is that we are wired to LOVE Story -- to receive affirmation through the telling -- and re-telling-- of Story. To communicate worth and value in the Telling - and Rehearsing - of Story.
Later, the two bikers 'scrolled by my screen' again. Same postures. Except this time, blonde-haired son was clearly leading mom. He was in front and had the half-sit, half-stand stance of someone who is loving the ride. He was also the one talking. Mom was listening intently as they steered precariously around rocks and bumps in the road. I didn't catch the exact string of words, but it was something the boy had recently experienced with friends.
And in that montage of the 2 scenes between mother and son, God gave me a beautiful illustration of prayer. The conversation happening between mother and son as they played together. Parent telling stories of history and truth and affirmation. Son sharing the current details of his life. Both going the same direction and enjoying each other's company.
I had to stop everything to take it all in - the beauty and truth of this moment of worship to my Father God.
Thank you, God. This is so good.
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