108 degrees

“108 degrees”! The lotion I tried to rub into my arms just left thick white smears. I had dried off from the shower after swimming, but continued to drip – with sweat. Now that is hot! Nevertheless the triple-digit display on my dashboard still shocked me. There’s hot, and there’s stupid hot! Especially combined with 90+% humidity. (All comments from those who have deployed into Iraq’s 127 degree heat this summer are duly noted!)

For a moment I wondered why we had driven almost 17 hours straight from cool, hilly upstate New York back here to the flat, hot South. We spent last week there, enjoying long sleeves and steaming tea to counter the cool mornings. For nearly an hour each morning I sat by the lake, reading and reflecting. Even now the memory of those peaceful moments bring tears to my eyes. It was so far from the noise of TV, radio, cars driving by and the air conditioner pushing back the oppressive heat. It was worlds away from the pressure of summer classes, the growing stack of dishes in the sink, email piling into my inbox and broken light fixtures in the guest room with guests inbound.

There was just Sandi, Chili, me and God’s beautiful creation. No computer, no phone, no Blackberry; only simple kitchen work for Sandi to do, and assisting campers’ activities for me. A simple life. A beautiful life. A life that gave us the time to get to know people.

I sat by that lake marveling at the upside down image of trees reflecting off smooth ripples, mentally looking at my “normal” life of scrambling to do all the things we do. Yet when I take a step back and look at the bigger picture, I know that my little life is like the flowers of the field, here today and gone tomorrow. And I realize I’ve taken another small step away from all the “things” I do.

It is not the doing that is important; it is the being. Last week was another reminder. It is good that the tender young women who come to this camp can escape the cacophonous wooing of the World and have to opportunity to experience this. Not just to hear it preached, not just to read about it, but to sit in silence in the early morning calm and feel it wash over them. It doesn’t matter what a person can do and has done; what pleases God, what brings unrivaled peace, fulfillment and purpose, is to simply be completely and simply His.


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