Food is amazing. I thank GOD for food every day. Burritos, pasta, calzones, broccoli beef, perogis - you name it, I love it. That's one of the things that I love most about Davis - the food options are numerous, and it's an awesome blessing to sit down and have a tasty meal with friends and family.
But here at camp, the food options are... limited. The dining hall plans out a week of meals for the guests, and they use the same meal every week. For the guests, who are here for one week and then leave, this is of no significance. But those of us staff who are here for 10 weeks, this reality is of greater significance. I don't think of myself to be a very picky eater, but eating the same camp food for ten weeks has been... interesting. Let me intercede at this point and say that GOD has been teaching me a lot about food this summer (I'll share some of those thoughts later), but one of the most significant realities that I have come to grasp is that there is a difference between what I want and what I need. The camp dining hall is by no means a 4-star restaurant, but I have never gone to sleep hungry - a statement that millions and millions of people around the world cannot make. That's the truth.
But in the midst of the week-to-week cycle of food, there were two weeks of heaven that came in the form of an amazingly generous family: the Prol family. For two weeks, they stayed in one of the units in camp that has a kitchen, and for lunch and dinner every day they left an open invitation for all of the staff to come and be fed. Kryne Prol (first name pronounced like "Brian," but with a "k"), the father of the family, would cook up amazing grub for anyone who was hungry, twice a day. It was amazing.
One day, he made perogis - pasta stuffed with mashed potatoes and cream cheese. I had never heard of them before, but apparently everyone else had - on that afternoon, there were over 80 people crowded around and in this dude's little abode, grubbing down on this delicious food. I was one of the first people there, and as I sat with my styrofoam plate in my lap, heaping with food, I looked with disdain as more and more people flooded into Mr. Prol's yard. I thought to myself, "There's not enough food for all of these people. Why are they here?" Staring down into my plate of food, my heart was hard with thoughts of greed and judgement. Looking up, I saw Mr. Prol, and I was brought to my knees with shame.
Mr. Prol was standing out beside the road, scanning the horizon for anyone who remotely looked like a staff member, waving them in like an air traffic controller to come partake in the feast. As I sat there, my sinful greed juxtaposed with his bottomless generosity, I was reminded that this is the reality of the Kingdom of GOD - there is enough for all of his children. In GOD's house there are many abiding places; in GOD's family, room for everyone to be covered in his love and forgiveness. In GOD's creation, there is enough for everyone - as Shane Claiborne observed in his book The Irresistible Revolution, "I'm convinced that God did not mess up and make too many people and not enough stuff. Poverty was created not by God but by you and me, because we have not learned to love our neighbors as ourselves."
I was reminded of Jesus' words in the parable of the generous landowner in Matthew 20: "Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?" (v. 15) Jesus, change my heart - bring me to a place where you are more than enough for me. Seen you soon.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
(This is the first of a series of posts taken from journal reflection from the past 10 weeks. Sorry I didn't post them sooner - but now I have some time to breathe and reflect, and I would love to share some of my experience with you.)
Camp-of-the-Woods is situated on Lake Pleasant, a beautiful lake about 5 miles long and a 1/2 mile wide at it's widest point. In the center of the beachfront area that the camp covers, there is a roped-off swim area that stretches out about 200 feet into the lake. That might seem like quite a distance, but one of the most interesting features of the lake is that it's dropoff is incredibly gentle - I can walk about 150 of those feet out into the water. But the last 50 must be traversed by doggie-paddling, and this is where the difficulty arises - I'm afraid of swimming in lakes.
When I was in the Boy Scouts, we would spend one week out of the summer at a place called Camp Wente, which also had a gorgeous lake. And every summer, when it came time to take the swim test, I would fail miserably because I would imagine Jaws gnawing my legs off as soon as my head dipped under the water. After a few minutes or so of frightened flopping, they would fish me out and I would be restricted to the kiddie wading section. I can swim just fine - put me in a pool and I can swim and tread water just like anyone else. But there's something about the unknown contents of the dark water and the fear of scary fish that would paralyze me every time.
But this summer, as I got into the water and that familiar fear came back to flood my mind, some words that I had heard once came to mind: "The fish in that lake are more scared of you than you are of them." As I floated on my back, looking up at the sky, I realized that this was true. I'm not so scared of lakes any more.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, I know that with Christ within me and beside me, I have nothing to fear. Though the unknown is a scary place, and as we swim in it panic and insecurity gnaw at our minds like the nibbles of little fish, I find comfort and peace in knowing that the powers and principalities of this broken world tremble at the name of Jesus Christ, and that now, by his Spirit living within me, I have nothing to fear. I'm not so scared anymore. See you soon.
"You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder." (James 2:19)
"Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water." (John 21:7)
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
A come home two weeks from yesterday. Things I'm excited about:
1. Seeing people I love
2. Sitting on a comfy couch in Bay Street Coffee with a good book
3. Going on slurpee runs (they don't have 7-11s in New York)
4. Driving my car on streets I know
5. Going through the $3.95 bin at Rasputin's Music
6. Going thrift store shopping with my mom
7. Eating a chicken super burrito from the "Tacos La Esmeralda" taco truck (My girlfriend surprised me by coming here to NY to surprise me [a whole different story] and put a burrito on ice, carrying it on the plane, flying 3,000 miles, and bringing it to me. I couldv'e died and gone to heaven. My girlfriend is amazing.)
8. Driving to Santa Cruz, having a bonfire, and stopping at Marianne's Ice Cream afterwards
9. Going on bike rides with my dad
10. Kissing my mom
11. Kissing my sister
12. Shooting finger rockets and laughing in the Student Ministries Office at BCC
13. Doing nothing
14. Doing nothing with my girlfriend
15. Doing anything in Davis
I'm not homesick, but I love my home, and I'm excited to come back to all the things that I'm so thankful for. I haven't been faithful to post updates here, but I have begun to journal regularly, so my hope is to share some of those stories here. Thank you for your prayers and support - I miss you. See you soon. (Seriously.)