Our annual Family camp is a fun time for everyone … and I would never miss it. Swimming, taking hikes, great food, games, kayaking, water balloon fights.. lots of photographs.. and laughter. Then at night everything slows down with singing and talking around the campfire.
But camp can get a little stressful for some of us. Whether you are a mom of twin babies.. or a parent with cranky kids… or my own child is having an OCD day.. With 19 cousins? We are bound to have at least one set of parents who are over-loaded.
THAT is where the kayaks come in…
We have a lot of kayaks.. the cousins will all set off in large groups to explore the world unknown… explore a hidden cove .. or go around the island.. There are always animals and sites to see… perfect for adventurous kids…
But sometimes? They are perfect for parents… You see? We put stressed out parents into kayaks and push them out into the lake.
Those stressed out parents always look back once and call out, “Are you sure you’ll be okay?” and a promised, “We won’t be gone long.”
With a laugh, we call back, “Take your time–We got this..” And we prepare ourselves to distract, cuddle and entertain.. And we plan on taking that responsibility until the parents come back.. relaxed and rested..
As a parent of a child with special needs? That time in a kayak is amazing.. Our family always chooses small rustic campgrounds with remote lakes.. Where the kids can kayak easily and safely. Without fear of fast boats.. and small enough we can always see where the kids are at.
So when we launch our kayak onto that lake? It is extremely peaceful. The wind whips away the sounds of the world around you.. as you gracefully slide through the water. As you paddle further and further from camp, that peace seeps in .. and you lose track of all time. The noise (and stresses) from camp disappear .. and all you can see is the lake .. reflecting like a mirror as you drift along.
I imagine that is how heaven feels. That peace that fills you as you drift. Occasionally looking back toward camp… the noise and worries hidden from you… so all you know is the peace…..
At family camp this year, we missed someone. My uncle is pretty sick and was unable to make his annual visit.. He was unable to bring his Arizona tea and small gifts.. He was unable to brighten camp with his laughter and teasing…
As we pray everyday.. every hour.. that God will touch him and heal him if it is in His will … I am preparing myself in case God is calling my uncle home. I can’t imagine not having him come to our family holiday celebrations, my kid’s plays and especially family camp. But I do know that God has a plan.. a plan that is perfect.
I also know that my uncle feels he has unfinished business here. He would be leaving behind a son and a grandson.. but my uncle trusts God to know what is best for him..
It is kind of like that kayak ride… As we put my uncle in the kayak .. and launch him into the water… he is saying to us, “I’ll be right back.. as soon as my body heals.” And I really hope he will..
But if God wants him to keep going? If God is calling my uncle home?
Then.. I don’t want my uncle to worry…
With tears in our eyes … we will call back to him,
“We’ll miss you.. but until we see you again… We got this!”