Sunday, August 03, 2008


There was a time, decades ago, when I liked to camp out. The more primitive the better. The ideal was a back pack into an area so remote that I would be unlikely to see another human being.

Time passed and my situation changed. My family grew and included little kids that were about as smart as a stump when it came to staying out of campfires, but who also wanted complete meal service, medical assistance, and turn down service regardless of how much time I had spent that day doing other stuff for them. In addition, my body began to complain seriously about being left laying on the ground all night. Walking through complete darkness to find a spot to pee became a much bigger issue than it had been in my 20's. I developed into a genuine curmudgeon with regard to camping, just as I have in so many other areas.

However, this weekend I was persuaded to participate in our church's family camp out. This meant clustering tents close enough to hear each other snore. Even when I liked to camp, I abhorred tent cities. I wanted pristine wilderness and I wanted it all to myself. Consequently I was prepared to endure the discomfort, keep my mouth shut about it if possible, and then gratefully drive home to my shower, my easy chair, and my privacy.

However, I discovered something. I actually really enjoy sitting at a picnic table or around a campfire with a bunch of friends and talking. Just talk. Some laughs. There was a pleasant sense of having nothing else to do (especially since I am really bad about things like helping to cook.)

We also had an outdoor church service. Really outdoors, with trees all around and a huge blue sky above us. No amplifiers or mikes. Nothing but acoustic guitars, singing, and listening to one of us share how dramatically Jesus had changed her life.

As we packed up later that day, I found myself actually thinking, "Wow, I hope we do this again next year!". So to all those who shamed me into going, and especially to my long suffering wife, Barbara: Thank you. Thank you very much.
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