As the shelter in place order remains in place, I find myself more often focused on the “what will happen next?” Will we or won’t we be open in time for summer camp? I tell myself the same thing I tell anyone who asks, “At this time we just don’t know”. We are doing all we can to stay on the path of opening in some way but truly only time will tell. This uncertainty is certainly challenging to abide, but finding ways to ground myself in the present moment has been helpful.
I find steady footing in what I am choosing to work on, read, watch, and listen to. Before the “shelter in place”, I started reading “The Book of Awakening” by Mark Nepo. It is one of those books that gives you a nugget of inspiration to carry with you throughout the day as each section has a quote and a 5- 6 paragraph reflection followed by points to ponder. Some of these readings land better than others, and while this book was written well before the pandemic I am finding that some apply very well to this situation. This past week produced two golden readings.
April 21: “Another name for God is surprise.” ---Brother David Steindel-Rast
The author speaks to the idea that we do not always embrace the obstacles in our lives as a way to grow as humans or in our understanding of God and the great mystery of life. He gives several examples of how tragedy often gives birth to some new and wonderful thing. He calls this God’s surprise and finishes with “For God is seldom in our plans, but always in the unexpected.”
Of course, this pandemic was not expected and it is challenging for many and if any one of us could take away the suffering and dying we would but that may not be our work. Our work may be to see God in the mystery of it and to “develop strength in our spirit” as we dive deeper into the human experience.
And April 22: “If you can’t see what you are looking for, see what is there.” Mark Nepo
In this passage the author reflects on his experience with cancer treatment. He is in the midst of the struggle and asks himself, “Where is God?” and from somewhere even he cannot identify it comes to him, “Here... right now.” He goes on to say that the presence of God is not eliminated during difficult times; he is always there. Abundance is always there. In all situations, we have everything we need if we just lean into His presence.
Yes, these truths are grounding and his book has steadied me in this uncertain time, but that is not all.
Doing my job as Camp Co-Director has also been quite satisfying, reassuring and grounding. Even with the uncertainty in camp life right now, knowing that the camp family is out there reading about, thinking about, engaging with, cheering us on, and praying for camp is life giving. I am hopeful that people like what we are posting and stay tuned for whatever happens next.
The goal is to open, to enjoy summer camp, to sing at the top of my lungs while waiting in line for my lunch, and to welcome the camp family back to this place of faith, love and community. In the meantime, faith is a great place to stand with both feet planted in the present, trusting God to hold us steady as the “what will happen next” unfolds.
Camp is such an unique experience! Our staff take turns sharing their perspectives of the experience that is CYO Camp Rancho Framasa!
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