It’s Holy Week and I’m in a pickle.
Today is Day 35. This is when my eyes bathe in happy tears and my heart explodes and I have a lot to share. This is the important stuff. (Not to imply that charcuterie and Indian food are not important- they are holy in their own right – but you know what I mean.)
Here’s the catch. Time is not an infinite resource. We’ve got 24 hours each day, right? You know me. After downing that fourth cup of afternoon tea and sipping my evening gin I could write for ages after the kids are in bed BECAUSE I AM ALONE AND I AM FREE!
The trouble is, as important and fruitful as this challenge has been over Lent, it has cost me precious evening time with Steve. Easter is celebrated once a year and I would like to do prepare and reflect whilst reading and writing in bed, cuddled next to my man and far from my computer screen. That which matters most should not give way to that which matters least. So this week’s shout-outs must be pithy.
I’ll cut right to the chase. Go to Camp Firwood. No, wait. Before you do, hit up Casa Que Pasa for a potato burrito. Then treat yourself to a pint of something tasty from Mallard Ice Cream and then go to Firwood.
Park your car and hike to South Cove. Stretch out on the pale sandy beach next to the towering trees. Breathe it all in and try to forget that while it feels like you’re in Eden, you’re actually a stone’s throw from where parts of The Ring were filmed. (Surprise!)
I spent three consecutive summers working at Camp Firwood. It’s nestled down on Lake Whatcom in Bellingham, a university town half an hour south of the Canadian border. I, like several summer staff alumni, am a different person because of the place. And perhaps the foremost reason why is because of its leadership. A round of applause please for the Director of Camp Firwood, Rob Lee, and his sterling wife Val.
It’s pretty obvious why I’d choose you two. You’re a dynamic duo who love beyond measure. Your hearts are unusually hospitable. Your ability to mentor young adults and stretch their capacity to lead is inspiring. You are only able to do so because you’ve let God shape you. You know God’s character and His heart for people. You follow Jesus’ lead. Plus, your Christmas tree is made from wine bottles. Seriously. Enough.
But everything I’ve expressed above is secondary to why I’d like to acknowledge Rob and Val. I learned all that tender stuff about these two when I was on staff. Now I’m on the other side of the world and I’m a wife and mother, preparing for an undefined and relatively uncertain future.
I won’t pretend to know the intricacies of the Lee family history but what I do know is certain. Rob had a sweet job before he said yes to humbly leading staff at Firwood. Ready, ladies? The man was a womens shoe buyer for a little family business called Nordstrom. That was sixteen years ago. That’s a lot to walk away from when you have bills to pay and three small children. Secure jobs are answers to prayer- believe me, we’re praying for one. But jobs are also stumbling blocks when they get in the way of God’s call.
I know for certain you were called away from Nordstrom and you obeyed. That, my friends, is the most important part of the story. Acting in obedience to God’s call is easier said than done. Rob and Val (and Forest, Sierra and Kenzie) thank you for uprooting your lives to move to the lake and serve at Firwood when it would have been cushier had you stayed with Nordstrom.
Without your decision to walk away and obey, you wouldn’t have impacted my life, let alone the lives of 100+ summer staff members each year over sixteen consecutive summers. And that’s not considering the campers either.
Rob and Val, I’m sure you had moments where you looked at each other and thought, “Yikes! Did we make the right choice?!” Of course you did. You know that. But I wanted to remind you anyway.
May this summer be the sweetest one yet. See you in July!