While Camping

Blog from a few days ago while I was in Whitewater State Park.  The sun is on the brink of setting. All the people in their campground sites are just starting fires now, the smoke drifting up and over the trees. The woods smell fresh, after rain, and there are several crickets or frogs chorusing together from the bushes. My dad is sitting under the awning outside the camper in a fold-up chair, shaving. My mom is reading in the hammock, one leg swinging out, back and forth, for momentum. We’re about to start dinner.

We slept a nine-hour night last night and then biked and hiked and napped all day long today. Mom brought bags of GORP on the trails this afternoon and we pretty much ate the trip's supply. Food tastes doubly better camping—classic beans and potatoes and meat. After all that, we went in the creek to cool off, and now swimsuits and towels and shorts are hanging all over the ceiling on hooks and other things. It smells like the river and the forest in here. There are grapes in front of me on the table, and I am eating one or two occasionally.

It’s nice to get outside of the normal routine of internship days and work nights, switch around the patterns in my brain a bit. Helps to make me moldable and not set in stone, I think. I get so used to my freeway commute to downtown St. Paul, rush hour, my cubicle, getting up and going to the bathroom three or four different times while I am in my cubicle (so my lower half does not fall asleep), and the various other office-like things that come along with the job. Sometimes all the sameness makes my brain feel like oatmeal.

In addition, I'm not sure what's coming next. What a mystery this graduating-from-college thing is. I feel like I was fairly warned about all the change, but somehow, it's still taking my feet out from under me.

Knowing what is ahead all the time, however, and being in control is a) not how God wants us to live and b) pretty impossible anyways. While this season of my life is transitional, there is one thing that I can feel secure in:

Where I am right now is exactly where God wants me. 

This means that there is no where else I could be, physically, emotionally, or otherwise that would bring me more joy and peace than where I am right now. This is a reality for all believers.

It's kind of like this. When I go on a vacation, I often don’t feel like I am resting. Once, I went camping a few days after the end of an extremely busy semester of school and a horrible week of finals. I think it was after my sophomore year. Standing next to the tented wall by the stove on the second day, I started crying because I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was so used to all the stress and pressure that, even in a beautiful place with an open-ended schedule, I felt overwhelmed with the idea of uncontrolled time and had a meltdown. I felt tired the rest of the trip and a bit unsure about how to live without the compression of grades and papers. It wasn’t until I got back home after a week of outdoors that I realized how rested I actually was. My heart felt light. Without even knowing it, something had healed up inside of me, strangely and with time. It was a refreshing peace that I suddenly had, but the process of getting there felt foreign and questionable.

It’s the same way with interim seasons of life. You cannot possibly know how you are changing or why you are being sculpted the way that you are, but just the same, you are being reshaped. It is a beautiful thing. Now the peace comes when you stop struggling against the Sculptor and let yourself whirl around on the spinning wheel instead of trying to stop the wheel or climb onto someone else's wheel or run the wheel yourself or stop the whole operation altogether. Relax. The Lord will take you the direction you need to go. I am finding great delight in this truth.

Mom is clattering some pots together, starting dinner now, and I can see our friends in the campsite next door setting fruit out on their checkered tablecloth. Off to roast sweet potatoes over the fire!

Cheers, Lo