We spent three days together at Rock Ridge Camp enjoying God’s creation, relatively unplugged. After the second day teens were asking to go home, and it wasn’t that they didn’t like it. It’s just that everything is such a stretch. So many things are new and different. So we make adjustments and we savor the moments, taking them as they come.
Kyle noticed the change as we traveled north. One boy who tends toward screen addiction willingly set I-pad aside for window gazing. Completely absorbed by the view. And just the other day I noticed this, too, when I walked through the kitchen, arms full of peonies. Mom, what are these flowers? Momentarily abandoning a video game to get a closer look.
So for at least one teen unplugged was okay for a couple of days. Trading technology for a fishing pole was a satisfactory swap, and with sweet reward. A few good-sized smallmouth bass, or smallies according to the camp director. And on the last day our budding fisherman netted himself a real-live snapping turtle, to everyone’s surprise. A big one, too.
The youngest of our crew, and most social by a mile, had the hardest time embracing unplugged. It wasn’t the games he was missing, but the girls. And what if I miss an important text? Bummer for us, remote as we were, cellphone service still connected, and messages still came, like it or not. But we did our best.
Overall it was even better than expected, and though short in number, our days were rich and full. Great family memories, breath-taking beauty, lingering quiet. Camp staff who spoiled and blessed us, and filled up our souls with just what we needed.
We each had our favorites. A mile-long hike up shore to a rope swing was worth a repeated trip for every boy. Another hike afforded mountain-like views; the weather was gorgeous and flowers were blooming, and the only disappointment was cliffs too low for jumping, which was secretly okay by me.
My flesh-and-blood youngest conquered his fear of heights on the high-ropes course – a small wonder given his older brother shouting Don’t fall! from down below. And all of us had a first-time-ever experience the morning we rode scooters pulled by sled dogs down a long dirt rode to a campsite for breakfast. Who thinks of such things?
Each night boys pulled couches together making a giant nest of blankets and pillows. Saying no to bedroom and bunks, three brothers slept in a pile of cozy togetherness right in the front room. It was there in that mess of bedding and boys we made our most sacred memory. One night after dinner, all of us gathered for scripture and blessings, placing Anderson medallions around the necks of our newest sons. Making a covenant commitment of devotion and love.
God sent me a gift for the journey, too. He knows my fondest for special books for special places, and this time was no exception. Every free moment I made my escape to my secret place, nestled in pines with a perfect view of the water. And there God spoke through a favorite author, a perfect message for life and season. A Loving Life. I wouldn’t have guessed until I started reading. The book’s all about covenant love. Fitting beyond imagining, and just for me.
We’re home now. Refreshed and renewed. Closer, and sweeter.
Thank you God. And Rock Ridge.