Sharing in the Wonders of Camp
It was trip that took you everywhere and nowhere in particular. A few notes and you were on the dance floor. A few more and you were in your first car picking up friends for a trip to the beach. And at the end of the week, after you dropped ‘school’ at the front door you cranked up a favorite song and headed out for hamburgers and a Friday night cruise on the boulevard. Your ears connected to your hearts-call all in one simple riff. Bet you can relate. Whatever language we speak or slang we use or dialect we choose, music is the same across the board. Music moves us with its own beat and rhythm. It has its own style and expression and no matter the message, music speaks. It connects. It directs. It soothes. We share the deepest parts of our soul when we join together in song. Music is a universal conversation that charges our emotions with notes and harmony and divine sound. This soul-language offers us the mystery and wonder that keeps us talking, singing, and relating to something greater than ourselves. Dust off that guitar, crank up the radio or an old record player, or plug the Ipod into some speakers and get going. Music, like the sea, is calling!
You are probably thinking "Why is quilting worth wondering about?"
Well, didn't you ever wonder how a quilt was made: construction, design, fabrics, who was the person who chose to make something so detailed and then leave it behind for generations to find later? I wondered about all those things.
This morning I was visiting one of my favorite blogs (twiddletails.blogspot.com) and it got me thinking about these very things. You see, I just needed a little reminder of my roots today and my roots in quilting go way back. My Grandmother Collins got me hooked on quilting when I was 9 years old and I've been fascinated by it ever since. Taking a pile of nothing-much-going-on fabrics and watching it form into something beautiful and useful does make ones wonder meter go up.
You are probably wondering what this has to do with camping? Quilting just seems organic and so is the nature we walk in. God took nothing but dust and made it into something beautiful like earth and people. So, I got the bright idea 30 years ago to have my campers design and construct a quilt. When we were done I hung it up over the mess hall fireplace.
In more recent years, I asked my Family Campers to repeat the process and the results were, well, wonder-ful and have been allowing campers to "wonder" about them ever since. They hang beautifully in our Bishop Lodge as a reminder that other people and talents and nothings and somethings came before. Just like me, and my grandma, and my dad - who used to love to sit and listen to the quilting bitties as they worked on their quilts in my grandmothers living room.
Make a quilt with your campers today. All it takes is plain muslin squares, permanent markers for designing, a little imagination and some thread and needles. Easy-peasie. Happy camping (and happy quilting!)
Did you know that if you’re lost in the wilderness, nature has given you an emergency whistle? Really? Yup. If you have oak trees close by, you simply need to cup your thumbs over an acorn cap and blow a steady stream of air through the top knuckle of your thumbs and viola! Three short burst and help is on the way.
The year I was a junior counselor my good friend Shannon and I had a favorite oak tree out back of our cabins; cabin 14 for me and 13 for her, respectively. We’d nestle our backsides in the languid part of the trunk, playing guitars to our favorite little troop of boys and girls and the birds and the squirrels and anything else that happened by.
I had quite an education in those few short years. I learned a lot about sharing my deficient little gifts, lack of confidence and all, but I just kept plucking away on those old nylon strings, believing someday that I would be a little bit better musician than I was right there, nestled in that tree; the oak that always seemed so sure of itself. So sure in fact that even as it dropped acorns, the staple food of the local critters, the old oak knew that part of its purpose was to grow more oak trees and those little bitty acorns knew it. Some of them decided to keep at it, growing into saplings that we harvested for our campers to plant in barren parts of the woods. The acorns had been born with the potential and ability to become mighty oak trees and we helped them along.
Looking back, my friend and that oak tree helped me along, offering encouragement, laughter, and a solid stage to play on. I guess I managed to grow just where I was planted too.
I soooo enjoy Facebook – mostly because I get great pleasure from staying connected to people I know and love – but also because I find some interesting things within it’s features that make me think and ultimately make me wonder. And you all know how much I love to wonder about, oh, just any old thing. The photo below was taken by a friend of my friend Becky and it was just too, well, amazing (because it really is!) not to share with my readers. It's like the creek bed left a little gift in the water at the very moment Becky’s friend would be walking by. Was this a cosmic coincidence? Possibly. But I like to think that it was God’s way of getting the full attention of a child-at-heart wanderer who needed a bit of a reminder. God gives His gifts in abundance through nature. He is incredibly generous with the gift of Himself. These awesome treasures in God’s good ground are the gifts that keep on giving all through the course and currents of time. It might look like a wet rock to some but to me, it is the imprint of God’s heart in a world that is thirsting for Him.
People wonder about a lot of things: bugs, snow storms, travel, snakes. These are great things to wonder about. I would personally hope that a bug could escape a snowstorm while getting out of the path of a preying snake. See how I did that? Okay then...BUT...sometimes, as the winds of wonder blow, it's a person that is the very essence of wonder. At least that's what I thought when I read about Peace Pilgrim.
She was in her eighties when she passed from this life into the next. Most who came in contact with her knew her only as "Peace Pilgrim." Those who had an ongoing association with her simply called her "Peace."
Peace began her mission in the 1950s, gently and physically protesting the Korean War by walking across the country with little more than the clothes on her back, a comb, map, toothbrush, some correspondence, and a small Bible. She spent almost 30 years zigzagging across our great country with her facile message - a simple prayer:
“This is the way of peace - to overcome evil with good, and falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.”
Peace reminded us that a pilgrimage is a gentle journey of prayer and example. She believed she was a Pilgrim and a wanderer and vowed to remain a wanderer until mankind learned the way of peace. She chose to walk until given shelter and “fast” until given food. Peace literally walked her talk and talked about peace with anyone who had a heart to listen.
We can’t help taking notice of Peace Pilgrim and her work because they serve as a reminder to us to seek peace, show peace, and by example to live in and fulfill our deepest longings to experience peace.
Over time, many prolific writers have shared their thoughts concerning peace. In 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower commented that "people [will] want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it." Just before the Vietnam War Pope John XXIII, in 1963, stated that, "The true and solid peace of nations consists not in equality of arms but in mutual trust alone."
The pope was a constant and committed advocate for peace, in a time leading up to the painful tragedy of war.
Living peacefully was not a new idea that came as a result of great wars. In the Bible, Jesus encouraged us to love each other with these simple words: "blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God."
Peace transcends all time, all space. To choose peace is to choose harmony and harmony is an inside job – it begins within us. We become of greater service to others and to God when we choose to be kind, show mercy, express love and work together; this is what peace looks like. What will we choose? If we took a moment, one small speck of time to express what having a peaceful life means to us, what would it look like? How do we express peace, model peace, and encourage others to consider living lives of peace? How can our family members share peace with each other? What can our communities do to prompt peace? What can our government do to follow the path of peace?
Right before our country suffered the loss of President John F. Kennedy, he spoke to the United Nations. His words never rang more true than now. He said: "Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures." President Kennedy was an advocate for a more peace-committed world. What peace legacy will you leave behind?