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Barefoot Summer

June 10, 2012

If April is the cruelest month (as T.S. Eliot suggests), then May is the busiest, and June is a gift.

April brings a burst of new life, shocking the frozen earth and barren trees with color and light that, while an annual occurrence, always seems to happen unexpectedly, and not quite like we remember it from before.

The earth can’t help but choke on itself just a bit (the pollen helps with that), struggling to wake up and make sense of a new world after a long and restful winter. And what’s that? Summer on the horizon! So much to do! And so May is the busiest month, a time of reacquainting ourselves with all we had forgotten and are now reminded of, and preparation for the arrival of Summer.

June arrives, and with it all the excitement and expectation of Summer. The warmth surprises us, and causes us to pause (rather reluctantly) from the chaos and take a break. Take a sip of water and cool down. Look around at how things have fallen into their proper place. The earth has established itself in a new season, and perhaps even despite our best efforts, has done so without our help. Enjoy the gift and soak up the sun.

And so it goes in camp life. The arrival of spring brings a reminder that there is much to be done, and ready or not, summer will be here soon. April is full of excitement and new life, cruel only in it’s sudden arrival once again. May always seems to be the busiest month, as we frantically prepare for the arrival of June, all the while wondering how it all caught us by surprise once again.

Thankfully June arrives, and it’s time for camp to begin. The pieces have somehow fallen into place at just the right time, and the fun is about to begin. Like summer itself, it is a gift to be enjoyed.

A few weeks ago I was driving up Highway 96 on my way to camp, my mind full of details and to-do’s regarding the camp season, and wondering how, as many times as I have driven this stretch of road, it never gets any shorter. I was feeling stressed, as I often do during the month of May, wondering how in the world everything would get done in time for camp. My “feel good” playlist wasn’t living up to its name, and rolling the windows down only seemed to add to the chaos in my mind. So I rolled up the windows, turned down the radio, and just drove. As I drew closer to camp, I was reminded of a quote I had heard the year before:

“Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with the glory of God, but only he who see’s takes off his shoes…”

The words of Elizabeth Barrett Browning brought me back to the story of Moses, and of course the burning bush. I had heard a preacher say once that perhaps one of the most significant parts of this story is not the burning bush itself, but the fact that Moses took the time to pay attention. If you read the story again, you’ll note that while the bush was burning, God did not speak until he saw that Moses had taken the time to notice (Exodus 3:3-4). Only when Moses paid attention did God reveal the sanctity of the world around him, calling him to take off his shoes and listen.

For once I was glad that stretch of Highway 96 was as long as it was. Perhaps the reason it never gets any shorter is because God is calling me, calling all of us who travel the road of life, to pay attention. And when we’re not paying attention, we find ourselves behind a log truck with a Virginia license plate going 45 miles per hour, so you know you may as well settle in and enjoy the ride.

Look around, God says. I’m here. I’m present. In whatever season of life you find yourself in, I am there. I want to speak with you.

Camp is here. In just a few short hours our first group of campers arrives from Village Baptist Church in Fayetteville, and a new summer begins. I am excited and full of eager anticipation for what I hope will be the best summer yet at Camp Oak Hill. More than that, however, my prayer and hope for this summer – for myself, for our staff, and for all who make that trek up Highway 96 and down Oak Hill Road – is that we would take the time to look around us, pay attention, and take off our shoes. God wants to meet us here.

– Brian

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Dennis permalink
    June 10, 2012 5:35 pm

    Hi Brian,
    May I have your permission to print this in the Oxford Baptist Church newsletter? Great article and so well written. Dennis

  2. Tom Dixon permalink
    June 10, 2012 5:36 pm

    Great Blog Brian.
    We are praying for a blessed week and start of Camp Oak Hill summer 2012!
    See you guys soon.

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