Even though I say it all the time I’m not sure if it is really understood as deeply as I’d like it to be: I’m a camp person. I’m all about camp.
Last fall, huge changes began for my childhood summer camp, Camp Arnold. Buildings that have been around since the beginning- the A-Frames – were torn down in order to build brand spanking new cabins. And it’s kind of scary, because that’s all we’ve ever known of Camp Arnold.
I’ve committed to documenting the whole new cabin story as best as I can so that my friends who live far away can stay updated and so that in fifty years we can look back on when they were built…. and because writing about it helps me keep my emotions in check, and sometimes I can get really emotional about the A-Frames.
No, seriously I can get so emotional. A few days ago I realized that I had seen the A-Frames get torn down. They were no longer a part of Camp. They’d been taken out in receptacles of honor (as Mark the Camp Director gently called the DUMPSTERS). I got so sad that I changed my Facebook cover photo in memory of the torn down buildings.
So. many. emotions.
It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything about the A-Frames…. or I guess the space that used to be the A-Frames, I should say.
I spent New Years Eve at camp and on New Years Day, we walked up to the new cabin ground. Before the A-Frames were destroyed Mark mentioned how crazy it was that the earth under the A-Frames hadn’t seen sunlight in nearly 50 years. I stood on dirt thinking about how it would soon be covered up by buildings for many many many years.
There were trenches all over the place, marking where the new cabins will be built. And even though Mark has explained the layout of the cabins to me a few times, I couldn’t really imagine what they might look like until he walked me around the space, pointing out where the bathroom will be and the counselor room and the common areas and the actual camper cabin part.
I mentioned this in a post not too long ago but a really powerful part of the creation, for me, is when it says… God created the earth… now the earth was formless and empty. God created the blank canvas with which to paint a masterpiece.
Standing on the ground of the new cabins reminded me of that. It was like… in the year 2015, Camp Arnold built new cabins. Now the cabins are formless and empty. But they are there… the anticipation, the hope and the plans.
In my life, I want God to always be busy creating new things and leaving his messy fingerprints all over, but I rebel against the whole entire process.
Camp wants and needs new cabins. People loooooove the old ones. Something had to give, and the need sometimes outweighs the desire. Sometimes God hears us say that we like the person we’re dating, we want a baby, a raise would be nice, I want to get married, please heal my friend… he hears us loud and clear, just like the leadership at Camp Arnold knows without a doubt that the A-Frames were beloved little homes for many people. But those entrusted with Camp Arnold also knew that letting the A-Frames stick around forever just because people like them would be foolish.
Those A-Frames were built at a pretty central part of camp. Right in the middle of many things, right where cabins of campers should be every summer. There’s no other option. The trees had to be cleared and the buildings had to be torn down. and it SUCKS. I’ve cried many tears about them and have lamented my sorrow over those pointy little buildings with my summer camp friends. But the need for new cabins outweighs the desire for everything to stay the same.
The same in my life and in my heart. Sometimes the things God knows I need have to be built on a place in my life that are already full of the things I desire. and God has to clear some trees and tear down some things I love. That’s when things are like the earth at the beginning: formless and empty. Look at what God did out of the formless and empty earth. Have you seen waterfalls? and mountains? and sunrises? and oceans? and spiderwebs with dewdrops as the light hits it in a way that makes it look like Christmas lights? I’d say that God has a history of making masterpieces out of formless, empty things.
I’m excited to see the cabins be built this year – to watch them go from formless, empty anticipations to real, solid, secure buildings that will house thousands and tens of thousands of hurting children in their lifetime. I am also excited to see the masterpieces God will build through, in and with me – to watch parts of my life go from formless, empty anticipations into his plan and path and promise for me.
In the meantime, while we wait.
This is what the hillside of Camp Arnold looked like as of January 1, 2015.