One of my sisters posted on facebook early this morning that she missed tent camping.
Before Diane and I had kids and when I was still young, we would go to Florida for a month or so through the winter for several winters. We slept in a tent for a few days and then stayed in a hotel for a day or two to break it up, and then back to tenting for a few days and kept going back and forth between tents and hotels. We traveled all over Florida over the course of a few years. We tented close to the ocean and in the wilderness and we had run-ins with raccoons in the tent. We primarily tented because it was inexpensive and we could afford to stay longer in Florida, but I don’t remember it being so bad.
My sister had her 50th birthday yesterday. She’s 50 and misses tent camping. I was 50 last year, so I’ve always been a year ahead of her. Last summer when I was 50 I went tent camping with our son Matt (who was 20) and his friend Dakota (who was 19) on a white water rafting trip. It had probably been 15-20 years since I slept in a tent. We did the camp fire and the smores and slept on the ground. We were tenting two nights: tenting one night, going rafting the next day, and then tenting again that night. We all three agreed we’d be just as happy in our respective beds after one night in the tent and a day of rafting so we skipped the second night in the tent and drove home.
Looking backward 25 years, I appreciate the time sleeping in a tent on the ground in Florida from when I was in my 20’s and remember that time fondly. Time changes the way we look at the past. What may have seemed important at one time no longer seems important. Some things we thought were fun 20 years ago may seem today like it was actually a stupid thing to do.
I know I need to end today’s blog and I appreciate you hanging in there. I know what I want to say, but am having trouble finding the right words, now 45 minutes after starting today’s blog.
Since I became a follower of Jesus, every once in a while I have moments in my life that I think right at the time, “this is going to be a moment that I will cherish for eternity.” Revelation 21 tells us that God will wipe away every tear and there will be no more crying, no mourning, no death, and no sorrow. Jeremiah 31:13 says, “I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.” I think the hard and difficult times from this life will fade into forgetfulness in eternity, but I also believe some moments in this life we will have with us for eternity. I think I will forever and ever remember taking beans and rice to Haitian families six months ago in Haiti in Jesus’ Name. I think I have an eternity to remember a circle of us all praying out loud with our hands on a sister-in-Christ in a New Orleans neighborhood. I have an eternity to remember a 5:30 a.m. divine appointment on an outdoor basketball court. And I have lots more moments including some from Sistersville, from Mason, from Dayton, from Huntington, from Africa, and more.
It’s not the cruise ships and trips to the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas that will bring a smile to Jesus’ face and stick with me for eternity. It’s the times I made a difference in Jesus’ Name. I want more of those moments. And who knows, there may yet be a day in the future that I do that while sleeping on the ground or in a tent.