Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Camp Showers and What I Learned in the Woods

This weekend I was looking for a Walden experience, to clear out the chaos and "front only the essential facts of life." For a technology/social addict like myself, that necessarily meant unplugging, going into zero-bar territory, and looking at some trees.

So, early Saturday morning, I loaded my kindle with The Practice of the Presence of God the Best Rule of a Holy Life by Brother Lawrence and The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine by A.W. Tozer; packed my Sentra with my little Coleman 4-man, a sleeping bag, a notebook, my EasyMac and 4 gallons of water; and headed up to a free campsite that I found on Boondocking.org.

Nothing special. I wasn't looking for a "camping experience" I was just looking for a cheap place to sit for a few days and spend some time reading and praying. The campsite above was perfect because it was free and, because it is a "primitive" or undeveloped site, it wasn't very crowded. "Primitive" means that the facilities aren't really maintained which actually means there are no toilets. The lack of a potty was unsettling, but I figured I could make it work.

I'm a fairly hardy girl, so I like to think, I'm not afraid to go out into the woods by myself for a few days, I even climb rocks on occasion. In the past, I've written off my many complaints with camping or other outdoor sports as an acceptable amount for the average civilized human. But I finally had to admit this weekend that I'm really not much for roughing it. I don't like sleeping on the ground, I don't like being cold, I don't think it's magical to wake up at 4 a.m. I don't like smelling like campfire smoke, I don't like being dirty and I love indoor plumbing.

This may throw a wrench into my van-gypsy plans.

But, the good news is that, of the things I learned this weekend, my tenderfootedness doesn't even make the top ten. I learned so many things that I need another weekend to sort through them all, preferably one including a cot and a flush toilet.

I learned that God is love, no really He actually is love, and love is God.
I learned that, even though we cannot please God without faith, without love, faith means nothing.
I learned that God loves people, and he makes a way for them to come to him.
I learned that God's glory shows up in surprising places, like sinners.
I learned that people are not black and white and, sometimes, God doesn't make sense. And that's good.
I learned that, when we see God, it changes us irrevocably.
I learned that we were made in His image and, if you really look, you can see His mark on everyone. Yes, everyone.
I learned that we cannot evaluate life through snapshots, because the moment we freeze it, it has changed.

And many more, not the least of which is that God actually likes me. He likes all 5 feet 7 inches of tenderfooted, prideful, chaotic, broken, conflicted, desperate Me.

And because He loves me, I'm not even going to feel bad that I snuck into a state park without a permit to use the coin-operated shower.


  1. Way to go! Maybe this was training for your future van gypsy days.

    p.s. I drive a sentra too :)

  2. It's good experience to have under my belt: my van will have heating and a shower. It'll be a big van.

    P.S. I absolutely love my care. I once actually mapped out how easy it would be to live in my sentra (not very easy).