I’d been looking forward to camping in Arkansas with the college ministry over Spring Break for months. I love getting to know those smart, creative students, and I love being outside. I crave it. I haven’t been really camping since before Finn was born.
As a result, I’ve felt as though something’s been missing for about the past three years of my life. I’m pretty sure it’s fresh, woodsy air. The chorus of crickets at dusk. That awed, small feeling I get when I feel the magnitude of God’s mighty creation–especially in the mountains. Being outdoors feeds my soul and has since I was a kid. (See post: Cooped Up)
So when the forecast for Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, where we were to be camping in AR, was 3-5 inches of snow the day before our trip, I was bummed. I knew it wouldn’t be wise to take Finn out camping in frigid weather. Joey and the college students continued driving east of Siloam Springs, while Finn and I headed north to my parents’ house in Bella Vista.
I had about a forty-five minute pity party in the car. The Lord gently reminded me of my selfishness and the reality that sleeping under a roof instead of nylon is not that much of a sacrifice in the grand scheme of things. There are just some things you give up when you have kids. We’ll camp again. I’ll camp again. Just not this week.
While Finn took a nap, I lay on their couch, savoring rest for my aching back.
When he woke up, we spent a good hour noticing small little things outside the floor-to-ceiling windows like the red-headed woodpecker on the swaying tree. Two playful grey squirrels. Buds on the trees in the ravine. A fox den.
We sang several rounds of Old McDonald until we ran out of farm animals Finn was familiar with.
When mom got home from work, I went down to the boat dock to pray a little and watch the bugs skim the top of the water. The sun was setting and I closed my eyes to try soak it all in.
The students and Joey joined us at my parents’ house the following evening, and the next day we all went to Crystal Bridges American Art Museum. It’s a fantastic place.
Joey had this brilliant idea that we’ll take about 30 minutes to go through the museum on our own and choose a piece we connect with; maybe one that inspires our faith. Then we’ll all walk through together and point out the painting or sculpture we chose and tell why.
I chose The Good Shepherd by Thomas Cole.
I love the depiction (based on the Biblical parable) of the shepherd who left his compliant herd of sheep to find the one lost lamb and bring him back. With a loose rope tied around his neck, the boy leads him gently to safety and obedience. Jesus does that for us. He is our Shepherd, seeking us out when we’re lost or confused and speaking kindly to us, “leading us beside quiet waters” (Psalm 23).
I didn’t expect to find my outdoor fix lying on my parents’ loft couch or in an art museum in Bentonville. I was hoping for a hike in Durango or rocking climbing in Horseshoe Canyon.
You just have to take rest where you can find it. Refreshment wherever it is given…and soak it up.