This afternoon I got back from a four night camping retreat with my church’s youth ministry. I already miss the quietness of my time spent there without my laptop, without the noise of tv, and with limited social media. Even though I was serving as a leader to an enthusiastic group of middle schoolers through camp activities, I felt rested and inwardly refreshed while I was there.
When I arrived on Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I would be rooming with other leaders, including three of my best friends. It felt like college and a nightly slumber party in one. On our first night there our room was really warm and rather stuffy so we tried to revive an old window fan by hitting it and plugging it into different outlets. About five minutes after giving up on it, it suddenly powered up and successfully kept our room cool and comfortable for the remainder of our trip. We laughed at how it seemed to have a mind of its own.
Each morning (with the exception of today) I brought my Bible and book down to the porch pictured above and enjoyed the sunrise from a rocking chair. The air was cool and the sun would peek over the top of the mountains around 6:30am and tickle my face with the warmth that comes only from sunshine.
On Sunday and Monday I enjoyed canoeing with students and dipping my toes into the lake as we talked about the beauty of God’s creation. The sky was bright blue and there were minimal puffy clouds that floated above the mountains. I kept trying to take in as much of the view as I possibly could.
Last night we had a dance party where I think I worked most of the muscles in my body. It was so much fun to laugh and dance shamelessly with the students and laugh with my friends. When I returned back to my room, I shared popcorn with one of my dear friends and quietly reflected on how blessed I feel that God entrusted me with leading those students this week.
Being in a beautiful place and sharing truth with others is a special experience and one that is bittersweet to leave at the end of a retreat. While I am thankful to be clean in fresh pajamas, able to sleep in my own bed tonight after having Chipotle and getting settled into my comfy bedroom, I miss the sweet spirit of the girls, the energy of our sessions, and the sense of community that surrounded me for the past four days. Most importantly, I’m thankful to God for gifting me with that experience and the memories that I brought home with me from it.