Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Beautiful Beach Week (and) Big Stuf

The past couple weeks have been a blur. I've been busy busy at work, moving friends into a new home (and consquently losing my internet hook ups- anyone got an awesome internet plan for cheap they wanna clue me in on?), seeing a fellah I'm pretty jazzed about, painting lots at the office, planning for big events, and then finally- chaperoning a trip to a church camp (Big Stuf) in Panama City Beach for 5 days. It was an awesome trip. I got to know some kids really well, made some closer friends, spent some time enjoying beautiful scenery, and witnessed God's work in a place where it was impossible to ignore His creation.

Sometimes the stormy moments were even more beautiful than the blue skies. 

I love the way this woman's hair is blowing away. And the overexposed sun. 

Some friends on the beach at dusk. I love these people. And below, this is just a glimpse of what 1,600 young people look like when they are reading and meditating in God's word on a white sand beach. 

Patterns in nature fascinate me. Especially ones created by creatures. Look at those darling bird tracks! I would love to see a fabric with a pattern created out of bird tracks. And those tiny holes in the sand. Are they the work of a hermit crab breathing under the sand? Or do the grains just settles in these patterns? Science geeks, go ahead and inform me. 

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Floridian food at least a little. For the most part, we ate cafeteria style at the camp, but one evening we went for dinner at a kitschy, beachside margarita joint. I split a tasty grouper po'boy with my pal in order to leave room for a really tasty pie. In fact, it was kinda...

I'm already missing the beach and the atmosphere of camp. Some of the students were already mourning camp as the bus pulled out of the parking lot. I tried to console them with my theories on how the "place" that they miss doesn't exist anymore since the same people will never inhabit it at the same time ever again

The whole experience reminded me of my late teenage years, working at Interlochen for summer camp. Those were summers full of puppy love, skinny dipping and mosquito bites. I was shaped by those moments, but oh, I thought I would never feel the same again. And I have frequently seen glimpses of that same belonging, that same passion for life in my adult friendships and relationships. It's easy to see the end of an experience as a loss. But really, as the experience will inform your future decisions and shape your future self, it never does leave you.

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