August 14, 2011 § 1 Comment
I have never done the same thing for more than 2 years in a row. Yes, college was 4 years, but 2 of those years I was working for the newspaper, Sidelines, and the other two I was working for a church. Plus, classes changed every semester. Friends came and went. And of course, grade school and high school was nothing but a fluctuating existence.
When I moved to NC, I thought things would be different. I wanted to be here for 5 years, minimum. At first I even saw a pretty long life here. Soon I knew I wouldn’t be here forever, but I never, even up to accepting my new job, saw myself here for a measly two years.
Now, on the eve of my departure from the NC coast, I anticipate a new life in Florida. I anticipate a new job, new friends, new adventures, a new home … and this time, I anticipate a more lengthy tenure. I have certainly learned that even with the best intentions, plans change and life changes. But I hope it is prudent to go into this new experience with the same intention with which I went into my last two-year stint. I want to be around long enough to build a life, and more importantly, a ministry. I want to know people, and I want them to know me. I want to know my way around town. I want to give directions that include the phrase “where the old gas station used to be,” or something like that.
It’s weird to think that I have never had the same life for more than two years at a time. I live very much in anticipation of the next big thing (although I do believe I enjoy the present as well), so my greatest fear is never being satisfied. I fear that I will get two years into it and need something new. I fear that the “adult” life with a career will be unfulfilling, no matter how much I think I want it.
Mom was saying how she and Dad lived in the town where I was born for 30 years. I haven’t been alive for 30 years yet. That’s 15 times the greatest amount of time I’ve spent doing the same job. I cannot fathom what it would be like to live in the same house, or even the same town, for 30 years. Part of me yearns for that; part of me cringes. I guess in the next two years we’ll find out which part is stronger and truer.
July 5, 2011 § 1 Comment
A couple of weekends ago I went to Wild Goose Festival at Shakori Hills here in NC. I was blessed that the event was so close, and that my wonderful husband covered for me at camp so I could be gone (generally it isn’t possible to take a full day off from camp, much less two full days in a row!). I don’t get the opportunity to be in a place where I am surrounded by people who share my theology, passions, interests, and beliefs so closely. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate diversity and am happy to be around folks with whom I disagree, but don’t we all like to be surrounded by an affirming, like-minded circle every once in a while?
Living in the middle of nowhere is nice, but it can be a bit overwhelming and at times discouraging. I’m blessed by my online community, and it is even more a blessing to meet them in person. I know this especially after having attended Big Tent Christianity last fall in Raleigh.
I was blessed to attend this first-ever historic event, modeled after the UK’s Greenbelt festival. I heard some incredible speakers, conversed with some incredible people, met a few of my favorite authors and theologians, and just had an all-around good time!
And although I didn’t expect it, one of the highlights of my experience was hearing the incredible singer/songwriter Jennifer Knapp. Yes, the Jennifer Knapp you remember from about 10 years ago. Yes, the Christian artist who revealed last year that she was a lesbian and had disappeared from the Christian music scene. That Jennifer Knapp. « Read the rest of this entry »
June 14, 2011 § Leave a Comment
As I sit tonight by the ferry landing at Minnesott Beach and watch the ferry depart, backed by a breathtaking sunset, I cannot help but look toward my own departure in just two months.
In case you haven’t heard, two months from today will be my last day at Camp Don Lee. In January, a retreat center in Florida approached me about a new position they desired to create developing retreat programming. Although my initial reaction would generally have been an immediate “No thanks, I have the best job in the world,” because of some turmoil occurring at camp at the time, we were all considering what our options were, so I heard a little more about the opportunity.
And, to make a very long and drawn out story short (I didn’t get the official job offer until mid-May), I have decided to take a position doing program development for a United Methodist retreat facility in central Florida.
I am ever more convinced that God’s plans are not always ours, and the ways God works and calls us do not always seem consistent with our understandings. Part of my call story is having six youth ministers in six years as a teenager and how difficult that was — so part of my call, I felt, was to be in a ministry of longevity. Leaving an appointment after only two years seems simply absurd and wrong to me. But, I have become more and more convinced that this is the right thing to do, and that I am making a move that is good for me and appropriate to God’s call on my life.
So I look forward to sharing some of this journey with you all soon. Sorry I haven’t shared recently — preparing for summer camp and training staff really are a full time job! And now that camp is here, I may have more to write about, but less time. Hope to share more soon.
February 10, 2011 § 2 Comments
If you know me at all, then you know Camp is the center of my life and identity. Not in the way that I am my job (although that might be somewhat true), but in the fact that I am who I am, and I do what I do, because of Camp.
I became a minister and now a camp professional because some counselors and staff loved on me summer after summer and brought me into a community of love, faith, and compassion unlike any I have ever seen anywhere else in the world. I love because I was loved. I minister because I was ministered to. I care because I was cared for. « Read the rest of this entry »
October 20, 2010 § 2 Comments
I started this blog as an outlet for creative theological expression in my ministry. I wanted to highlight the events that were the most awe-inspiring at camp, mention the people who made a difference to me, and generally share my life.
It turns out that I’ve ended up doing things here that I never expected. When I discovered I could get books for free if I would just read them and write about them, this became a book review blog in addition. It has become a place to share my theological reflections on current events, and to share some of the work I’m doing. It has become much more than I ever thought. « Read the rest of this entry »
May 25, 2010 § 1 Comment
I remember April 2003 vividly.
I was about to graduate from high school, and I couldn’t wait. I had been over the high school life for months (maybe a year) by that point, and going to MTSU was going to be the best thing I ever did.
But there was one step before heading off to college: summer.
And that summer was supposed to be my first summer on staff at Lakeshore. I had looked forward to this summer since the 5th grade when I first stepped onto that holy ground.
I had volunteer counseled since the summer of 2000. I had put in my time proving and preparing myself; I knew I was ready.
But that Saturday night, I got the phone call. I knew what that phone call meant. I think the tears began before I ever pressed the button to answer.
I wasn’t hired.
Although I knew my graduation date was late, I didn’t think there was any way that uncontrollable circumstance could prevent me from spending my summer in the same place I had spent the last three. But it did. And I cried more than I ever remember crying.
But I didn’t question my abilities; my faith wasn’t shaken. And I still spent my summer at camp.
Actually, I spent my summer at Camp Hazlewood, my childhood Girl Scout camp. It held (and still holds) a special place in my heart; it’s just a different place than Lakeshore.
I learned a lot that summer. The people around me were not the most supportive to me or to each other, and I questioned some of their motives for even being at camp that summer. Because of those people — because I wasn’t distracted by staff relationships and drama — I was able to pour myself into my campers in a way I never would have at Lakeshore. Not that summer, at least.
I really learned what camp is all about. It’s not about the relationships formed among lifelong friends and fellow staff members (although those are important — most of you know what my wedding party and reception looked like!); it’s about amazing little children of God who come to a place expecting magic. And you get to be the magician.
I hope I was a magician for those girls in 2003.
Now I stand at the beginning of my first full summer as a program director. After two years on summer staff at Lakeshore, two summers in youth ministry, and a summer coming back to serve the Lakeshore staff, I will now be training young people just like me to be magicians.
I get the honor and privilege to prepare and encourage a staff of 70 amazing high school and college students to be the coolest people on the planet for 1300 little smiling faces. I can’t imagine a more wonderful or higher calling.