June 27, 2011

Does God go camping?

So I did it. I gave in and went camping with Matt and the kids. In a tent. At the beach. In the summer. In what I, a city girl, consider the wilderness while Matt sees a very civilized campground with bathhouses and electricity. And you know what? I didn’t hate it! I am not sold on Matt’s idea of making this a yearly event but I might do it again for a few reasons.
There were lots of first for me this last weekend. First time to see live raccoons and feed wild deer (I told you it was the wilderness). First time to take a private port-a-potty on a trip (although, mercifully, I did not have to use it). First time to sleep in a tent with my family and the dog. First time to sleep outdoors near the ocean.
Really, this not my very first camping trip but it was my first camping trip of substance. A little over ten years ago I gladly agreed to spend one night on the floor of a tent on a crisp spring for the chance to glide alone in a canoe for four hours with the boy my heart desired. But that was then and love was young and so was I. So the prospect of two nights at a state park campground with two kids and a dog, cooking food on a campfire, sharing showers and toilets with strangers, being constantly sandy, hot, and sweaty did not appeal to this girl raised in a concrete jungle. But when the boy-my-heart-desired turned into the-man-who-holds-my-heart asked me to go, love could not say no.
And while I was always hot, often sweaty, and forever covered in sand those two days, I took a few mental snapshots that shifted my perspective a little.
I saw Isabel and Noah have a blast the way only children can. Covered in sand and sticky with sea water they soaked up the sun and the fun and their joy was contagious.
I saw my husband and his brother, who came along with his two teenagers, reconnect and talk about their shared hobby of photography and their connection and love was heartwarming.
I saw families, moms and dads, grandparents and pets, getting back to playing board games, riding bicycles, talking together and the future of the family looked hope-full.
And I saw me, away from rugs to vacuum, laundry to fold, papers to grade, e-mail to check, worries to think about and I relaxed.
And as I relaxed I looked around. And as I looked around I was what I was there to see: what God created for us to enjoy.
The ocean, the sunsets and sunrises, the deer, and the raccoons. And in the middle of this gift He made for us I felt closer to Jesus than I had in a while. It was quiet enough to hear the birds, dark enough to see the stars, still enough to let the Holy Spirit’s gentle whisper speaks to my heart.
And I came home renewed.
Who knew? In the middle of a busy campground, on a hot June weekend, in less-than-comfortable accommodations.
Matt grew up camping and has wonderful memories o f those vacations and, while I would still take a nice hotel with soft beds and a pool over camping any day, I may be a little less reluctant to go back next year. I guess we’ll just have to see…


Debbie said...

How fun! I used to love camping as a kid, but the one time I tried it in the post blow dryer days, I haven't like it. Vanity, thy name is Debbie.

You make me want o consider it again...
Or at the very least encourage YOU to do it again so I can pile on vicariously.

It's without a doubt a wonderful family outing.

Gaby said...

Debbie, we did have a lot of fun. I think I would be more inclined to doing it again in the Spring or Fall when it's not so darn hot! Besides, the mountains I bet afford even more wonderful reminders of God's amazing creation than thieving raccoons who steal our paper towels and fearless deer we cannot chase away from our campsite! :)

Lee said...

That's the way I feel about camping too. I love it and I hate it. It's a lot of work packing everything up. But there's something about being out where the kids can get dirty, and there's no house to clean or internet to connect to.

Maybe I love it more than I hate it. :-)

Unknown said...

You know, I love the beach, but the thought of being constantly sandy -- this gives me pause, too. But, oh, I'm so excited for all the things that you learned. I'm so grateful for the time you got to relax. I'm so enthralled by a God that gives gifts of beauty so abundantly.

Jennifer said...

I'm glad you had a great time! Matt and I have never had a camping trip of substance, and I would love to try. Maybe this fall?

By the way, I'm catching up on your blog. Congrats on the blogging gig and on not causing a massive pile-up on the interstate. Were you able to get back the book?

Gaby said...

Jen, when do we lose our love for the sand? My daughter was so covered in sand that giving her a bath was like a treasure hunt, trying to make sure I got the sand off every inch of her body? I used to be like that too. I don't know when I started hating the feeling. It was great, though, to be able to focus on God's creation.
Jennifer, welcome back! You ask the million dollar question! I guess I should have stated that in the story since everyone wants to know. I did NOT recover the book. It was too busy a highway to stop. I had to buy my friend a new one :) Wait for the fall to camp. Summer is just too hot!

Anonymous said...

How fun...I am glad that you enjoyed yourself fully!


Anonymous said...

Enjoy it while you are young enough to come back refreshed!! I prefer cabins, or should I say my back prefers cabins?

Connie said...

Oh how I love the sea...the sand, the wildness,my sister and I go back every year...but in my old age, I really like going back to shower in the time share condo---:)