Sunday, August 14, 2011

10 lessons from the summer

It's been a great summer!  There have been some challenges, but things all worked out.  And I've learned a lot this summer.  Below are some of the things I've learned.  Some may be a bit deeper than others:

1.  I learned how to drive a tractor.  Yes!  It's been pretty cool.  I even learned how to back up with a trailer on the tractor.  I'm FAR from perfect at it, but I enjoy trying.  And it may take a while, but I finally get it where it needs to go most of the time.

2.  I learned that I know who I am.  I realized that I've stopped looking so desperately for everyone else's approval.  I realized that I am confident in the man that I am.  My identity is not placed in a job or any material possessions.  My identity comes from my passions and my faith in Christ.

3.  I've learned to look at my passions closely.  I have a strong passion to see the broken hearted healed.  I desire to see the lost be found.  I desire to see people set free from their pasts.

4.  I learned that it is NOT a good idea to shoot a 12 gauge, break action shotgun from the hip with one hand.  Seriously, that thing kicked back and the trigger guard hit me square in the knuckles!  The other guy running the range with me tried it and the barrel came up and hit him the forehead.  BAD IDEA.  But still a fun thing to try.  Don't worry, no kids were nearby at this time.

5.  I learned that even though I may not like conflict, I can handle it.  I know the difference between petty conflict that really will resolve on its own and something that needs to be dealt with.  I used to be far more quick to speak and get angry.  I've learned that I can be level headed and think about things.  I can sit down and explain my position and listen to the other side.  And if I am wrong, I can admit that.

6.  The summer staff at camp will take you literally with what you say.  It's fairly well know that at the dinner table you DON'T ask someone to "pass everything".  You ask for each individual item of food at a time.  Only one person made that mistake this summer.  Within a few moments quite literally everything from that table was in front of this guy.  Then everything from other tables was added.  Also, the last week of camp I asked the staff to build a big bonfire for the last night of camp.  I said that I want the flames to be seen by the martians.  The guys went out and cut down a dead tree.  The fire was about 15-20 feet high before it was lit.  I don't even want to venture a guess as to how high the flames were.  We dumped about 50 gallons of water on it at the end of the night and by morning it was still smoking.  The giant logs that made up the log cabin were still full sized at the end of the night.  By morning they were gone.

7.  I'm think I know where home is.  I was thinking of this Friday night as I was driving down to West Chester for the weekend.  I haven't thought of my mom's place as home since I graduated high school.  Where ever I lived in college was home and I spent summers at camp.  I never lived at dad's house that he is in now.  Not that I'm unwelcome, I just haven't.  I lived in West Chester since 2002 with the exception of summers and a few months here or there.  The house I called home for the last three years caught fire a couple of weeks ago (no one was hurt).  I also moved from West Chester.  I've called camp home this summer but I leave in three weeks.  I will probably call the TI compound in Kenya home while I'm there.  But come January when I get home, I don't know where I will go.  As I thought about this, my iPod was on shuffle play and "I feel Home" by OAR came on.  These words summed it up for me:  "Cause to me throughout eternity there's somewhere where you're welcome to go.  I said it's something free that means a lot to me when I'm with my friends I feel home".  I may not have a true physical home right now and I'm okay with that.  But as I spent time with friends from church on Friday night, I felt home.  I spent Friday night at a dear friend's house.  I looked at my friend at one point and realized that I was in fact HOME.  I had one of my best friends with me and that's home.  I spent last night with my friends the Gyza's.  I woke up this morning and as I held their baby Annie and she smiled and laughed as Dave said, "Uncle Ray is here!".  I was at home there.  Home truly isn't a physical location.  It's an emotion location.  When I'm with my friends I feel home.

8.  What I need verses what I want.  This started back when I was packing to move to camp.  I started to sell and give things away to raise funds for Kenya.  Also, if I end up going for longer than this trip, I really have no reason to keep things like my kayak.  Still, it was interesting parting with some of those things.  I sold my kayak to my friend Chris at camp.  As I watched him load it to the top of his car before driving back to Colorado I was happy that it would be going to good use.  At the same time, I knew that I'd miss it.  It was a strange feeling watching it be carried away.  But I have no regrets at all.

9.  All you need for a good movie are some nerf dart guns, pool noodles, a crazy costume and 4 unsuspecting individuals.  My friend at camp, Jared, and I made a short film called Saints and Sinners.  We shot most of it in one afternoon and the last part that same night.  We spent a week editing it and came out with a 6 minute movie that rivals The Godfather!  Okay, maybe not, but we still managed to sell a few copies to staff.  That means that we are paid producers, directors and actors!  And our movie is a limited edition, individually numbered and autographed masterpiece!  If IMDB wasn't so specific in what films it lists, we'd be up on it by now.

10.  Just have fun!  This hit me one day when we celebrated Christmas in July.  I spent my entire day doing nothing but decorating the dining hall for Christmas dinner.  I started after breakfast as I made my way to the attic to pull out and sort decorations.  After lunch I started hanging them.  Dinner was at 6PM.  By 6:45Pm I was taking down the decorations.  It was almost depressing that I spent so much time just to make a 45 minute dinner different.  Then it hit me that people had fun.  That's what matters.  So I may have spent an entire day just to make dinner exciting.  It was worth it because the kids had fun.  The had a new memory.  What if we all just learned to have some more fun?

There are plenty more, but that's it for now.

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