Saturday, September 12, 2015

The News from Camp Magruder, 9/6-12

More and more days of steady fog are telling us that summer won't be around much longer. But, even if we continued to have dry, sunny days out at Camp Magruder, there would be other signs the summer months are about to give way to Fall. There are many ways we find to mark out days, to remind us how time passes.
Labor Day marked the point in the year when we take down the ropes for the swim area and the inflatable trampoline that has been sending people skyward above the lake all summer long. Joelle and Laura were the only Resource Staff members still serving--our other three have already left for Fall classes. We waded into Smith Lake with its normal chilliness and began to unhook ropes, swimming them back to shore. 

The three of us all began to recall the June day when we gathered with the rest of the summer staff to dust off all these parts and put them together. It seemed so long ago, and we seemed so green, so naive, still learning how all these things worked. Before it was time to unhook the trampoline and walk to to shore to deconstruct, we decided to swim out and jump on it one more time. Rik pulled up in the golf cart and we invited him to join, but he didn't seem to share the same nostalgia that day. 

In our lives we spend so much time building and taking down. We take the chairs down at each meal only to put them back up again when we finish. Leaving something out for too long is dangerous.
Keeping something packed up too long is dangerous in a different way. To take true care of something we must know when to do both. Each one has its own set of emotions that often accompany it as well. The setting up involves excitement, energy, hunger. The taking down often involves reflection, contemplation, a humbleness.

On Thursday we said goodbye to Hope, our Summer Program Director. She has been such an enormous part of the culture this summer, of motivating and inspiring the staff. She has kept them laughing and kept them thinking more about their place here. She made her rounds to everyone, trying to spend some important moments with each person from kitchen staff to summer staff to maintenance, housekeeping, to the kids of staff members.  

Here at camp we say goodbyes regularly. The longest a group will stay with us will be a week. There is simultaneously a sadness and a celebration for the time spent when you have a camp goodbye. The memories of the past stretch of days come rushing back to you. You realize the friendship you've creating in such a small bit of time. You are inspired by what you've seen but also afraid you may never capture something like it again. Stuff like this is where terms like "bitter-sweet," originated, I'm sure. We know there is a change very soon when these goodbyes announce themselves. 

Friday we did our last worship together as a summer staff. David Hurd of Bay City UMC visited to consecrate communion for us. Our group was much smaller than when we began, but communion feels special to me, even in a small group. It marks this special thing that we share together. We are certainly very different, some of us, but we have shared much this summer. We've been given similar chances to do something special, something powerful. We've stood, side-by-side, watching it unfold in front of us. We've eaten at this table together. As we took in the elements, a layer of fog was rolling in from the ocean. The air is changing. We are changing too. 

After Saturday supper, Joelle and Laura will leave, and we will be back at our retreat staff. Joelle will make the long journey back to her home in Florida. Laura will start classes at OSU. Hope will soon move all here belongings to new surroundings in Colorado. And the rain the clouds will take up more stable residence here at camp. We have just about packed up the trampoline into an area of a few square feet. The summer will soon be a memory completely. We will mark these days with many of these memories. They will remind us of the year and the month they happened. I hope too that they will remind us who we were and who we want to be. That the good work here would be multiplied and grow.

This weekend we host the Delphian School, Linfield College Choir, Portland State Ambassadors, and a Men's Group. Keep them in your prayers, that their time may be filled with God's peace. 

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