The weather this summer has been perfect. It has been ideal for camp programming. There have been no disruptions or interruptions. Campers have roasted marshmallows and hot dogs over hot fires and slept in dry sleeping bags under skies filled with a thousand brilliant stars. They have swam, paddled, dove, run, and hiked under gorgeous blue skies. We have been very grateful for such incredible weather. However, today the weather interrupted our perfect plans in a big way.
When first invited to join Gandolf in The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins declares, “We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!” Truth be told, most of us can identify with Bilbo. We don’t choose to go on adventures, at least not the kinds that make us uncomfortable. We choose adventures that we know we will thrive in.
Later this summer I will be backpacking for two weeks in Wyoming. While such an experience may illicit anxiety for some, for me it is like Brer Rabbit visiting the briar patch. I grew up in the mountains. I spent all of my free-time in the backcountry in college. Talk to me about getting caught in a New York rush hour, and then you’ll see me start to sweat.
Today at Camp we found ourselves in one of those adventures that you do not choose. As lunch ended, we could see a massive storm descending the North Fork Valley towards Eden Hall. After a parched summer, we welcomed the rain. However, this was not a controlled orderly drizzle. This was a batten down the hatches kind of storm. The wind drove sheets of rain sideways amidst cracks of lightning. Just as rest period began, the power went out, and stayed out, for a long time.
It’s amazing how dependent we are on electricity. We have difficulty communicating without it, cooking without it, and cleaning without it. How do you wrap up a game of capture the flag that is spread out over a hundred acres without a loudspeaker? Did camps exist before electricity?
Of course they did. And of course we found our way today. We carried on, just not quite as usual. When we gathered for dinner tonight, I had to raise my voice a little louder to make announcements. I chose my words a little more carefully and spoke less. Everyone quickly figured out they needed to listen a little more intently. After filling our plates, we ate together outside instead of inside to take advantage of the remaining evening light.
Adversity works strangely on us. Almost by definition, at some level we do not like it. We do not invite it. Today was no exception. It brought headaches for directors. It brought anxiety for some campers. However, we all know that much of the richness of life is delivered through those twists and turns that we do not choose.
There was an undeniable quickening of our collective spirit today after the power went out. We paid a little closer attention to our surroundings. In turn, that spilled over into more attention given to each other. When a young man caught a giant carp, the entire waterfront gathered around to cheer.
As we struggled to find coordinated movement as a community without the help of a loudspeaker, somehow we also relaxed a little more. The schedule didn’t matter quite as much. More laughter was heard. Everyone moved and walked and played with just a little more energy. It was as if there was a little electricity in the air.
Here at Rockmont, we do not pray for adversity, but we are grateful for the mysterious ways that God moves through it.
Inspired to be at Camp,
This evening’s Bible story…
Story: Treasure in Heaven
Scripture: Matthew 19:16-26
+ Where do you connect with the story?
+ What’s the good news?