Remember and Celebrate

June 2, 2015

Summer Camp, A Tree, A Lake & A Knowing

It seems I have taken an unintended Sabbatical.  (You can read my last post by clicking HERE.)  I am excited to be back here in this writing space.    

lake opeka

Recently my counselor suggested I remember a time/place where I felt Jesus present with me and to stay in that place.  I knew right away what it would be.  So I took myself to my lake, sat under my willow tree  and wrote as I remembered (because if I don’t write –I’d soon be making to do lists)

Summer Camp, A Tree, A Lake & Knowing
written May 21, 2015

I remember all of it.
The campground tabernacle
Up on the hill behind me
The tree where I sat
The lake with the pier
The wooden floating raft beckoning me
I had to pass a swimming test
Before I could answer the call.
(which I passed with my
flailing arms/kicking legs
never-letting-my-head-go-under-water
lungs-running-out-of-air
self-taught technique.)

“Find a quiet place
to be with God
alone”
my camp counselor said to us. .

Being a lover of nature,
it’s not surprising I soon found
my pony-tailed, 6th grade,
first-time-at-camp self
under the tree
by the lake.

Bible beside me
study guide in my lap
pencil in hand,
filling in the blanks.

And suddenly God was real
I knew that I knew
It was all true, all of it.
God sending Jesus.
Jesus dying
Jesus rising from the dead
For me.

Mostly I remember Jesus’ presence.
And a knowing
Under the tree,
By the lake.

* * *

And today, my 67-year-old, grown-up self makes a connection I have never made before.

I have always remembered this summer camp experience as the summer of 6th grade

And it was in the spring of 6th grade my little brother died
one morning
at home
with no warning

And if God met me then.
And it was all true then
It’s true now.

Tears come as I sense your presence
Leaning into your strength
Your gentleness
I put my head on your shoulder
as my grown-up 67-year-old self
relaxes in your love
sitting under the tree
with a journal
and a pen
beside the lake.

*****

Linking with

“A Small Wonder” & “Give Me Grace Community”

 

37 Comments

37 responses to “Summer Camp, A Tree, A Lake & A Knowing”

  1. Alia Hagenbach says:

    Absolutely beautiful. I am so glad you shared this with me. Thank you.

  2. Monique says:

    Carol, just beautifully written. How special that the Lord gave you this wonderful memory and the powerful impact that it is having on you today so many years later! {{HUGS}}

    • carol says:

      It’s good to see you here this morning. The power of memories, eh? And how even in times when it feels like God isn’t present, it’s good to know He is- and even when we doubt, He still stays right there.

  3. Joy Lenton says:

    “And if God met me then. And it was all true then It’s true now.” Amen! Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Carol, this is such a moving and poignant read. How reassuring it is to be aware of God’s presence in our lives today and to know (whether we sensed it or not) that He was with us as children, as growing teens and young adults, in every painful place we’ve been in, witnessing each tear, each heartbreak. Beautiful post to herald your return to writing. Thank you. :)

    • carol says:

      thank you Joy for visiting. The connection was stunning when i realized it. As if often the case for me, writing was the vehicle. So often I start out in my journal not really knowing where I am going to end. I suspect it is that way for a lot of us.

      Joy, I was just over at your blog and read “blue” and left a comment there. It was such a sweet space for me this afternnon.

  4. Isn’t it amazing to look back on God’s encounters with us and see how lovingly strategic He is in the when and the where. I love that weather we’re 7 or 27 or 67, He’s still meeting us, still teaching us, still healing us.

    • carol says:

      Elizabeth. thanks for visiting from Portland, where 40 % of my heart resides. It was good to get to know you at JT a bit.

  5. Karen Mulder says:

    Simply beautiful! My heart is happy for you and this healing. connection you have discovered of God’s presence.

    I am so glad you are back writing on your blog. You are a dear friend and I am blessed when you share your heart through your writing. I often see God more clearly and your sharing of your journey often touches places in my own heart that I may have not noticed.

    • carol says:

      you, dear friend of mine, know how much you mean to me and how much your words here mean to me. thank you for reminding me once again of why God as asked me to write. Sometimes i just want to forget it all, but I can’t.

  6. Ann Kroeker says:

    Under the tree, By the lake.

    I wonder if God might meet us all in that place.

    He was there. He is there.

    He is here. Right now.

    Even at my computer terminal, by the window.

    • carol says:

      even at my computer – by the window

      and yes Ann, I am feeling his presence in other places too since I had that experience.

      Yesterday it was in a place of feeling overwhelmed with emotion-after having read earlier in the day from Psalm 17 – “hide me under the shadow of your wings,protect me as the apple of your eye.”

  7. May I sit with you? Under that tree, by the lake. My 6th grade self knew this intimacy with God and knows it still. It is all true. You are right to remember. Bless your believing heart. Thank you for sharing this with me.

    • carol says:

      if I ever come to NYC again, I will come to visit and we’ll sit in Central Park, under a tree, by the water! deal??!

  8. Carol, you know lakes and trees are my kindreds, too… which reminds me, in this moment, how Jesus made his presence known in intimate ways along lakes and through trees during his life. And he continues to this day. I love the connecting line you drew between your child self and your adult self, the thread that has been with you all these years, holding your story in place. This is profound. So grateful you found this peace, this knowing, once more – and found the words to share it.

    • carol says:

      As always Amber, I love having you come by here to this place. AS you know, you have been part of nurturing the incremental changes over the past several weeks. So glad to have connected with you. I think it was first at Kelly C’s place.

  9. Oh, Carol. Under the tree, by the lake. Some of my favorite moments, as well. Thank you for sharing the beauty of God’s presence with you, with us. I’m very grateful you’ve written and am looking forward to all the ways the words are coming. Bless you, friend.

    • carol says:

      Well Ashley, the interactions I had with some of you were part of the incremental changes that have taken place over these past weeks. What is it about a tree, and a Lake? others have said this too? maybe that would be a writing project

  10. Oh Carol … I am just so glad you’re back. Truly. May your writing bring you a healing joy, a forward looking hope.

    Hugs, dear.

    • carol says:

      yes, Linda – I am glad to be back to. Just being able to do this represents the incremental changes that have been taking place in me over past 6-8 weeks. and I am grateful.

  11. ~Karrilee~ says:

    Oh my goodness, some of my favorite times with God have happened beside the water, under a tree! So thankful you wrote… welcome back!

    • carol says:

      the tree and lake thing – others are saying the same. I have this continuing question I ask myself many times – what is it about a tree and water? I am sure there is some reasonable explanation….do you have one?

  12. Jeff says:

    Carol, very profound. Perhaps the best compliment I can give: your words ministered to me.

    • carol says:

      Thank you Jeff – that means a lot to me – that it would speak to you. Thank you for visiting here

  13. Michael says:

    I really liked this. The change from the general ‘camp experience’ to your expression of an extremely personal tragedy is thought provoking and emotionally captivating.

    It shows me too that though time passes, we never go through a time of grieving, into a time of grieving where we do not need the presence of Jesus. We always need Him, always need a reminder of His presence and faithfulness.

    Thank you for the reminder. It is an ever present need.

    • carol says:

      yes, the ever present need – and when I go through times where it is hard to sense his presence it is leaves me feeling unsettled, untethered. I am grateful to know His presence is still there even in those times.
      thanks for visiting here Michael

  14. Lovely. Just lovely.
    So much better than a to-do list, Carol. 😀

    • carol says:

      isn’t that the truth, Marilyn. I have such a hard timd corralling my ADHD mind, but when i write – ah, that is the big thing that helps me the most.

  15. Oh, Carol! This is wonderful. Such a healing moment and so good for you to put the pieces together now. LOVE this.

  16. Carol,

    Love the tenderness in how God met you as I read your words:

    “Tears come as I sense your presence
    Leaning into your strength
    Your gentleness
    I put my head on your shoulder
    as my grown-up 67-year-old self
    relaxes in your love”

    Thank you,
    Dolly

    • carol says:

      Dolly. It certainly was a point I have always looked back on and to have it connect with where I am now. 55 years later left me a bit speechless. Good to see you here Dolly.

  17. Jackie says:

    Carol, how wonderful that Jesus assured you of His presence in 6th grade during such a difficult time, and to know today, that He is here with you now! Beautifully expressed!

    • carol says:

      yes, Jackie, it was a powerful experience – then and now. If you are the Jackie I think you are, it’s good to be reconnected once again after all these years!

  18. Donna Baker says:

    This is so beautifully evocative Carol! You invite me to go back to 6th grade. Or to my first “sit alone with God out in nature” experience. How wonderful that you can see that God was faithful to little Carol, and still is. Thank you.

    • carol says:

      i bet you could put your finger on some of those pivotal moments for your little girl. I am so blessed to have you as a journeying companion during these life stages. thank you friend

  19. Dana Butler says:

    Carol, this is so lovely and I’m thrilled you sat with the Lord and wrote it out.

    “Mostly I remember Jesus’ presence.
    And a knowing
    Under the tree,
    By the lake.”

    That bit gave me chills. Thank you, friend. <3

    • carol says:

      Dana, you know you have been part of encouraging this return to creative writing. thank you young friend!

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