Went hunting this weekend in northern Michigan, and had a lot of time to reflect. In years past, there have been anywhere from 8-11 guys hunting the same weekend, and for a variety of reasons this year, there were only two, my brother-in-law and myself.
Nothing personal Chris, cause we had a blast. And it was much more relaxing this year than in others years, mostly because there was a lot of down time, and not near the emotional energy spent on time with friends. Got to lay around a lot, watch the world series, Ohio State beat up on Penn State, Detroit beat the Bears (what's going on in the world?), track a deer, and spend a lot of time thinking in the woods.
Why do I go back there? It is becoming more and more rare to come home with deer, so why hunt there as opposed to other places where the hunting might be more successful. For today, the reason is pretty simple; memories.
For 15 years, we've been hunting in the same place. The picture of this plow represents the hard work that went into being there at times; planting clover and rye fields, hanging tree stands for gun season, putting up fence and property markings, building the cabin that provides running water, electricity, and gas heat, which were some of the things lacking the first couple years when things were much more rustic, to say the least.
This is where my dad built a tree stand the summer before he passed away, and was never able to hunt from. I have; shot a deer out of there the fall after he died. Cried up there, wishing he was sitting in that spot and not me. He built that thing to last, and I'm sure will outlive all of us; that sucker is not going anywhere.
These benches are empty this year, but are a place we have set before as a group around a fire, telling stories, making hobo pies, and laughing together about the one that we missed, or celebrating the one we were able to find.
Deer camp for me isn't just about the hunt; it's about friends. That's why I keep going back. I hope my friends are able to fill these seats next year.
Life is family. So for this to make sense, check out our grandson's first halloween costume. Not sure what he's going to want to do with this when he grows up, but for now, his folks are having a blast.
Like Kristin said, "She lives for this!" Us too, sissy, us too!
I just read a book by Parker Palmer called, "Let Your Life Speak". It was recommended by Tony Jones in a class he taught here at Olivet in January. Thought I'd quote from a section on Autumn, since we appear to be finally changing seasons around here.
"In my own experience of autumn, I am rarely aware that seeds are being planted. . .But as I explore autumn's paradox of dying and seeding, I feel the power of metaphor. In the autumnal events of my own experience, I am easily fixated on surface appearances - on the decline of meaning, the decay of relationships, the death of a work. And yet if I look more deeply, I may see the myriad possibilities being planted to bear fruit in some season yet to come."
These seem to be good words to me today, when I struggle with my ability to trust (more on that later). It also may be good words for two of my friends I had conversations with yesterday. There's always more going on here. So, that being said, what are the possibilities that are just around the corner that we can't see?
New things are great. I never dreamed that on a youth pastor's salary, I'd be driving a Cadillac. Well, Terry just won her third, thanks to another dream by another lady. Just want my wife to know that I'm proud of her. . .
I LOVE FALL; the beaches at Chicago have closed for the summer, but they will probably fill up this weekend with the temps reaching near 90, and the lake temps still around 68 degrees. It is the middle of October, isn't it?
I LOVE FALL; just wondering where it is. I talked with a friend, a new youth pastor in Michigan, who has lived in Florida his whole ministry life, 20+ years, most recently in Bradenton. He was wondering where all this cold weather he heard so much about was. I assured him, it was coming, but this fall has been strange weather-wise, to say the least. I LOVE FALL; the smell of wet leaves, the deep red change of the green white oak, deer hunting, hayrides, s'mores, sitting around a bonfire with friends, sweatshirts at football games, Ohio State beating Michigan, to name a few.
I LOVE FALL; we are going into our fall break here at Olivet, and it feels more like August. The students love it, can't really say I do. I'm hoping we don't make one of those classic mid-western jumps right to winter.
I LOVE FALL; I guess this year I'll just have to wait a little longer.
What does playing hurt look like? One of ours shared about playing hurt, and how many of us in ministry play, while hurting. I know I did, and maybe someone reading this does as well.
The picture was taken of a giraffe, scarred from a tangle with some kind of cat, most likely a lion. The scars are obvious, will heal, but what you can't see is that the reason this large animal was most likely wounded; for the sake of the little one trailing behind. Makes me wonder how often it's that case for us.
How many shots do we take for the sake of others?
The tough scars are those taken for no apparent reason. I'm praying for those today who, in the midst of serving, have taken a shot that has left you wounded. Know this day that someone in Bourbonnais has thrown a prayer to the heavens for you.
This week, I'm hanging with some of my best friends in the world, next to one that is. Our regional NYI council is meeting this week, hanging out, watching the Bengals lose and the Rockies win, wondering out loud together if this year could actually be the year of the Cub, and playing a little Texas hold 'em. Not for real money, no worries mom.