OK, so – I was gone a week. I went with the junior high kids to camp. I always love going places with the youth. You would think a week of non-stop dancing and walking and eating camp food would help me lose a couple of pounds. But Noooooo.
If anything, the week proved I really need to lose a few pounds. I had trouble sitting down on the floor and getting up, which we did about a billion times a day. Every year it gets harder and I come home and promise myself and God that I will lose weight but the next summer rolls around and I haven’t done it. If they could just schedule summer vacation some other time when the weather was nicer I’d probably get out and exercise before I went to camp. I suggest November. That a nice pleasant month.
My biggest concern before I even left my house was the bridge. Mo Ranch is divided by the Guadalupe River. It’s not much of a river this summer but somehow has managed to carve out a pretty spectacular swath of river bottom so it is far below the rest of the camp. Since the river divides the camp you are always going from one end of the camp to the other. There is a foot bridge for this. Sounds pretty innocent, doesn’t it? “foot bridge”
This picture doesn’t really do it justice. The little roofy thing is the half-way point so you’re only seeing half of the bridge. And did I mention you can see straight through the wire mesh floor to the ground?
How tall do you guess this is? Based on the SUV driving under it, it must be somewhere between 600 feet and a mile high.
Did I mention I am scared of heights? I’m not scared of snakes, bugs, mice, spiders or Glenn Beck. But anything over 6 feet in the air scares the Bejesus out of me. One day years ago I climbed on the roof of our house for some reason and had a panic attack that led me to lie flat on my stomach with my arms outstretched holding to the roof for dear life. After a while I realized I couldn’t stay there forever. I pictured all my neighbors coming home from work and seeing me up there hanging on to the shingles like I loved my house so much I was hugging it. Plus there was no telling what my children were doing inside the house unsupervised. I can’t remember how I got down.
I’ve been to Mo Ranch before and know there is a way you can drive your car down, around and up and avoid walking across the bridge. But the difference this time was this was a youth event and the whole camp would be walking everywhere in groups. Plus I was with my granddaughter. Nobody wants to look like a frail, sad, ‘fraidy cat in front of their granddaughter. I knew I would be faced with that bridge several times a day. And I was going to have to find a way to cross it.
Then, just like God knew what was going on inside my head, the THEME scripture for the week was Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I was definitely screwed.
I set upon mumbling this to myself like a mantra, hoping it would sink in and I would actually believe it.
The first time I went across I held on to the rails and stared straight ahead while Beaven pointed out all the things I should be looking at on the ground and any fool will tell you right off the bat to never look down. The second time Sarah was with me and I held her hand like I was protecting her while we both knew it was the other way around. Another time I was walking with someone who was telling me a great story and it helped take my mind off my funeral plans and whether you could have an open casket after falling a thousand feet into a dry river bed.
I realized if I had something to distract me it helped. So, on the next crossing I asked Beaven to explain the Pythagorean Theorem to me and tried to work out the hypotenuse of a set of stairs with 65 steps and a rise of 7” per step.
I managed to go across that bridge a total of six times during the week. Thankfully, as the week went on I found myself traveling with bigger groups of people and the group took a different path that involved a bridge but a much smaller and lower one. That made things a LOT better and I could set my mind on all the other things that were interesting about the week.
Like sharing a room with 50 junior high school girls. That’s an experience.
Please believe me when I say this was just the beginning. By the end of the week there must have been 25 hair appliances to straighten, curl or dry your hair. Plus cans and jars of every beauty product sold. All for young ladies who will never again be as naturally beautiful as they are right now in their bloom.
The only other things I want to show you today are a couple of videos.
The bridge wasn’t the only high thing to enjoy. They had a slide that used a wooden carrier that went on tracks down (like a roller coaster) and went straight into the river. I’ve never seen anything like it outside Mo Ranch.
They also have an outstanding ropes course but I forgot to take my camera. What is it about this place and heights? I think they have a whole “Nearer My God to Thee” thing going on at this camp.
Here’s a shot of my group putting a hula hoop pyramid together. The object of the challenge is to look at the pyramid for a while. Then the leader kicks it apart and tells you to replicate the shape. And times you. The challenge has been around long enough now that most kids know the technique. I also knew the high school record was 1.7 seconds. Our group kept at it until we managed to do it in 1.692.
Where did all this lead to at the end of the day? Vespers and staring up at a few constellations not faded by a magnificent full moon. The awe of lying on your back looking up at the sky. Absolute awe.
It’s hard to find anything to bring awe to your life nowadays. We’ve managed to fly to the moon and back. We have electronic communication that puts the world in your living room. We have microscopes that can show us individual atoms. We can examine our DNA and find out which continent our earliest relatives sprouted from. Even the pre-teen set is powerful beyond ancient kings and emperors.
When all is said and done at the end of the day we are left with the same sky Jesus gazed at. We are left with questions only He had answers to. We lay there looking at the moon and wondered where it all begins and ends. There is something out there bigger than anything we can imagine. And the Creator of all of it loves us.