“What moments do you think will stick with you the most after you leave here?”
It was an interesting question. And as I thought about it, I realized that the things that would stick with me the most would, in the whole scheme of things, not seem to be a big deal. They’re simple things really. Moments that I would never mark on my calendar or look forward to with bated breath, but that I would never want to give up either.
Like the time I went to Gethsemani. I came there to visit the monastery. But the moment that sticks out for me is not the prayer service, or the trail of statues, or the visitor center. It was sitting atop a hill in the grass, talking with Anna. The sun was shining, the grass was twisting in my fingertips, and words were climbing through the stillness.
Or the many early morning chit-chats in the office. Clarence tossing a joke into the air above his desk, Peggy laughing across from him, Carrie passing back some light-hearted scolding.
Or the day at Camp AJ when Carlo and AJ convinced Kelly, a somewhat reserved camper, to do an interpretive dance with them at the talent show. I smiled so wide my face hurt and laughed so hard I cried.
Or the canoe trip at Camp Shawnee when we stopped along the banks of the water where a group of trail riders were gathered. Horses milled about under the trees nibbling at bits of grass while we stood in a circle and listened to their owner’s stories. We came just to pet some horses, but were given some pieces of history rolled in Southern hospitality to boot.
Or sitting on the worn-out porch swing in the mixture of warmth and chill that is an autumn day, listening to Mary tell stories about her younger days, picking tobacco in the fields. I slowly chewed my turkey sandwich while pictures of years before I was born planted themselves in my mind.
Or the night of the super moon. Priscilla, Debbie, and I bought glow sticks and lugged a telescope to camp to watch the moon break through the darkness of the hills. The clouds threatened to block our view, so we did what you do when you need it to rain and you’re worried it might not – a rain dance. Or in this case, a super moon dance. Three pieces of humanity twirling, laughing, living on blacktop.
Or joking with Danny from Gray Hawk Lumber Supply. Mailbox tucked under my arm, I walked towards the counter where Danny awaited me. “Alright! That’s exactly what I want to see! She’s definitely sticking around now. Can’t leave once you’ve put in your mailbox.” I laughed and shook my head. “It’s not for me!” I never thought when I came here that I would miss seeing the guy who works at the hardware store, but I will.
Or the time that we were looking for a Halloween movie to watch on Netflix and couldn’t find anything good. So we settled on “The Magic Puppy.” The writing was terrible, the camera work was bad, the acting was highly questionable. But the company was good. Erin handed out little pizzas while Emily, Paige, and I guffawed at the t.v. screen.
Or the hike with Anna and Shelby on the first day that we found our way to the top of Pretty House. We wound our way around the rock and found the ascent. As I walked between the trees and undergrowth at the very top, I saw a the break through the trees at the edge of the rock. “Oooo, guys, I think this is going to good!” And it was. An awesome view with awesome people.
I’ve been pretty negative lately. At that point where I’m ready to head home, but still have a little over a month yet to go. I’ve been tending to focus on the wrong things – the annoyances, the ugliness, the questions. But I know that’s not right.
Because God is always there, in the simplest of things. On the grassy hill, in the morning office, at the top of the rock, buying a mailbox at the lumber supply. I just have to take the time to pay attention.
And then I have to take the time to enjoy it. Because I’m only going to be here, in this moment, right now. And I need to make the most of it.