Thursday, February 17, 2011

An Arresting Invasion in Boots

They arrested him. For not cleaning his room, Doc Holiday, Yosemite Sam and Johnny Ringo arrested him. Five minutes earlier, I was sitting at our Prescott Pines Camp promotional booth outside Desert Springs Community Church when a blond young woman with a cell phone poised to her ear was casually walking back and forth chatting with someone about houses in Connecticut. Her ring seemed to sparkle with each syllabic emphasis in the winter Arizona sun. She sat down next to me, crossed her legs, and smiled. “So moving to Connecticut?” I offered conversation.

It didn’t take much. From where she went to high school to how she met her husband, to the adoption of her two children and why the family is moving to east coast, this woman had me at “hello.” As we talked about the complexities of parenting two children from two different cultures (her girl, from Korea, and her boy, from Russia), she shared how her son was just so obstinate the day before. At this point she turned to our summer staff that were dressed up as their camp characters –cowboy hats, boots, and all - and pronounced, “You know what you should do? Go arrest him. Yeah, go arrest him. He’s in the third grade class. Just walk right in there and arrest him for not cleaning his room.” And it was decided.

The whole gang headed up to the Sunday school classroom, led by the junior high pastor, and the young eight year old outlaw was promptly arrested. Somewhat confused and a little shy, he obediently went with the deputy. In the hall, he met his laughing mother. After he was led back into the room, the staff presented camp and all its adventures to the wide-eyed group of children. One minute you are happily coloring pictures of Jesus and the next minute the Wild West has invaded your serene elementary territory. We all need a little invasion (and perhaps a little arrest in our busy lives). It gets you to color outside of those lines. Such exuberance is welcomed at camp. And those pictures of Jesus, transform and come to life at camp even in the streets of the Old West, making memories that reach back in time and into eternity.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sparrows in Red Bandannas

Ben hardly could focus those first few summer weeks. Outside of the camp office, Heather had set up a few bird feeders. You see, my husband loves to explore nature and the window that presented such a view was a little too distracting for him. Being married to Ben brings many benefits including -and certainly not limited to- the ability to reach the baking soda on the top shelf without having to climb on the counter top as well as the nature lover's world view. Ben shared with me once how the sparrows are actually like the little gangsters in the bird world. (I picture them with red and blue bandannas on their tiny feathered heads.) They will attack and unfairly beat up on others, often for no reason at all. They are the least of the bird world. Now that Ben shares such nature-knowledge with me, Jesus' parables convey even deeper meaning for the Carpenter was also a naturalist. He looked at the world around Him, the very world that was created through Him, and weaved stories of the Divine. When he spoke of caring about the sparrows, perhaps it was more than them just being the littlest but that they were the least liked. Jesus even loves the little gangsters.  This year at the women's retreat, Marilyn Dean is our speaker. She too will bring out those deeper details as she will sit before us with her pottery wheel.  As she moves her hands over the clay, you can't help but sense the Potter's hands on your life.  

Check out Prescott Pines Camp website for more information on how to register!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Red in the Dark

  I was holding a red crayon so I wrote down blue. Ben had passed out the colors and told us to guess what they were, “Write it on the piece of paper and then stick it in your pocket.” For our outdoor education program, we are featuring a night hike so Ben was leading the group of us through the new activity. The only problem was it wasn’t dark - I was holding a red crayon and I could clearly see it. Ben talked about cones and rods and people’s heads disappearing in the dark.  We cupped our hands around our ears to make deer ears and then wet our noses to improve our sense of smell.  Then he instructed us on how to guide the campers through the solo part of the hike. It seemed ridiculous talking about fear in the bright day light. Darkness certainly transforms a place.  The things that we are so assured of in the light become easily questionable in the dark. Color is not clear at all. Red could very well be blue.  Ben instructs us to tell the kids to keep their eyes moving and look through their peripheral vision . “It is easier to see in the dark this way,” he tells us.  And I wonder how many times I have tried to focus directly on the thing before me. Lately it seems the world has hit such black patches. Trying to focus on the thing itself to appertain meaning, perhaps makes it appear even darker. What if we learn the lesson from our night vision? Let us look around then. Keep our eyes moving and keep walking forward. Red is red even if I can’t see it or name it for what it is. It is a skill to adapt to the dark. Wet your nose, cup your ears, move your eyes  around, and walk on.