Friday, March 3, 2017

The News from Magruder February 26 - March 4

The Spring is toying with our emotions at Camp Magruder. Though we're still technically in winter, we see days here and there that fool us into thinking we're farther along in the seasonal calendar than
we really are. Early in the week, we had several stretches of beautiful sunshine--the sort of sunshine that dries off all the pavements and glimmers the the spruce needles.

For morning prayers on Tuesday it was just too nice a day to stay inside. Angie, Hope, and I went out to the bridge over Smith Lake on the Wetlands Trail to do our daily prayers. As we shared our joys and concerns for the day, a cool breeze came off the lake as ducks regained their comfort zones after fleeing when we entered. The sky was blue and so was the lake. The wind made the water lap up against the shore and the piers of the bridge. It was a great time to breathe in the scenery and let God speak to us just through being in creation.

On another morning, I went to the beach before going into the office. I was out with my terrier, Digby. Just after emerging onto the beach I saw a bald eagle perched on a large stump just about 100 feet way. I grabbed up the dog, so he didn't become an eagle treat, and then tried to figure out what I should do next. I wanted to pause time and watch this magnificent animal who I had just by some coincidence crossed paths with. This is one of those amazing things about living on the Oregon Coast. If you make time to be outside long enough, and you pay attention while you're out there, you will find yourself having encounters like these regularly. Even so, it feels like a blessing, like fortune has smiled on me. I wonder if Digby felt the same way.

On Ash Wednesday we entered the Lenten season, which for many can seem like a very gloom and doom meditation 40 days long. Many see it as a time where you have to give something up, so it becomes a weight loss or quit smoking plan. It may be a time for people to put change in a jar and give it to a charity. That basically boils it down to a time that we do the things we've been putting off, but really think we should do. I like to think there is more being asked of us during the time than just to prove to ourselves we can go without chocolate, though. I think Lent is a time that asks us to get in touch with the reality of our weakness. To sit down and ponder the idea that we are not perfect and we do not have the control we often tell ourselves we have. Understanding that and grasping that leaves room for love to enter. It is comforting. It is hopeful. In this time, we can become more aware of God's presence and how God works through all the things that surround us and sustain us, even in our weak days.

I feel as if many of us have been dragging ourselves through difficult, weak periods. We've been exhausted by it. Scared by it, Angered by it. Knocked down by it. I think Lent offers us a chance to really ponder it, though. To not power through it or put it off, because there's too much going on. It invites us to sit on the floor and cry and understand it is a part of us. It compels us search for relief, to call out for some sort of hope. As we sit there on the floor in our fear and weakness, there is enough time to listen closely, to hear the whispers that we often rush past unaware. There are many things out there, many blessings there to sooth us in our weakness.

This is the last full week without guests we will see for some time. Outdoor School staff will join us next week and the week after we will begin to see the middle school students. From there we'll go right from Outdoor School to the summer. After the summer we'll welcome Outdoor School again until November. Our work will pick up and there will be less time to ponder, less time to prep. Still it is important for all of us to remind ourselves there is time to be silent. Time to really look at
ourselves, to be real with ourselves. Time to sit with our weakness and through it see how many blessings truly are out there surrounding us.

This weekend we welcome the Aphasia Network and Dancemode Women's Retreat. Join us in prayers that these groups find a multitude of blessings during their time.

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