A “Spiritual Oasis” Sort of Day

My friend Bob and I took our teenage sons to camp for the week. He picked me up at around 10:00 this morning. My son who will be a junior and his son who will be a sophomore are off to Camp Manatawny for the week. My soon-to-be-freshman daughter went along for the ride. She wanted to visit with some of her friends who will be at camp this week. (The session she plans to attend begins next Saturday.)

We also picked up my son who recently graduated from high school. His week at camp was complete. He had a great week, though there was an inordinate amount of rain. If you’ve seen any of the news reports about the flooding on the Susquehanna, Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers you know the kind of weather challenges the campers faced last week. Camp Manatawny is located in the heart of this rainy country, just about 20 miles east of Reading, Pennsylvania. They received about 10 inches of rain during the week. Thankfully, everyone was safe. None of the “tubers” was swept away on Manatawny Creek, either.

After we completed the registration of our two campers, Bob and I, along with two of my teenagers took a little side trip to Hamburg, Pennsylvania. Hamburg is a pleasant little “burg” on the threshold of the beautiful Pocono Mountains. We visited Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitters featuring hunting, fishing and outdoor gear. In addition to all of the gear they have for sale, Cabela’s has extensive exhibits of world-record-class taxidermied wild game. We were fascinated. At one point were marveling at a massive polar bear. It was an ominous site, standing erect on its hind legs with one front paw upraised as though it was preparing to take a swipe at something, or someone.

Bob and I were leaning on a split rail fence that surrounded the display. He looked at me and said, “Boy, I sure would hate to have to out run that thing.”

I responded, “Well, I wouldn’t worry about outrunning him.”

“Why’s that?” Bob inquired.

“I’d just have to outrun you.” was my response.

His slightly-turned, tilted head and half-smiling face said: Some kind of friend you are!

Our return trip took us through some of the most beautiful country in this area. We followed Route 82 through what Bob calls the “horse country”. Rolling hills covered with lush summer grass, tree-lined fence rows and post card country estates are everywhere. We saw a few downed trees, but it appeared that this area was mostly unharmed by last week’s storms and flooding. I will never stop being fascinated by the beauty of this part of our country. Growing up in the Oklahoma Panhandle, there was none of what is common place around here. Wildlife abounds! Trees reach phenomenal heights. Rivers, creeks and streams all have water in them.

Now, I’m sitting in the family room looking out the bay window at the beautiful scene in our backyard and the meadow beyond. I’m grateful for the distance God has led me away from the dusty environs of my youth. More importantly, I’m grateful that God has led me to a place far away from the parched landscape of a spiritually barren world in which I wandered before I surrendered my life to Christ. I’m thankful for days like today. I’m thankful for the opportunity to spend time in pleasant and playful conversation with friends and family members. I’m thankful for my dear children, all of whom have many of the qualities I wish I would have known and practiced when I was their age. I’m thankful that I can return to a house that is a home—to a wife who is so much more than a homemaker, but is also a home maker in ways beyond my fondest imaginings.

Now, I will spend the rest of the evening relaxing and enjoying all the things that I so often take for granted. With an unusual and new sense of satisfaction that I’ve shared these thoughts with my blogging friends and many others who just happen by the Spiritual Oasis.

Blessings to all,

-bill

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Blogroll, Children, Christian Living, Family, Fatherhood, Following Jesus, Life, Spirituality & Religion. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A “Spiritual Oasis” Sort of Day

  1. Dee Andrews says:

    Gee, Bill – I never thought about that before. You don’t have to outrun the wild animal. You just have to be a bit faster than the other guy! Good point! (But remind me never to go out in the wilds with you anywhere.)

    I find it most interesting that you say:

    “I’m grateful for the distance God has led me away from the dusty environs of my youth.”

    I say that because for many years of my adult life I would have said that very same thing. But at some point not too many years ago I came to have a completely different perspective on the what I now see to be powerful positive influences on my life in most profound ways. In fact, those influences are where the title of my blog came from – Finding Direction: The Wind Vane Chronicles. When I first started it I had a different title for it, but that changed within a couple of weeks, actually, when I determined that it just didn’t seem to be the right term to convey what I was already writing. (Originally, and not many of my current readers know this, my blog was called “Meandering Footprints.”

    I actually got called on it by someone who was reading it from the first who has never identified themselves who thought my title was “way not,” as we say, me. I was already thinking the same thing myself and it just so happened that the night I changed the name and put my first, what I’ve called ever since, my “Wind Vane” stories, “anonymous” dropped by for a read and a comment.

    Here’s what I had to say in my first “Wind Vane” story, if you will, about growing up out in West Texas and how I feel about all of that now. (See: this first Wind Vane post. It’s taken me a lifetime to come this this place I am today in looking back on what I long considered to be some of the darkest days of my life internally, at least (although most people didn’t know, even my parents, I’d say).

    I’ve posted a good many “Wind Vane” stories since then about very special things that I had written essays about, including the redemption of my always before deeply fractured (on my part) relationship with my dad in his last years. One of those stories tells how I came to have my wind vane, and its very real and sits out in its place of honor and remembrance (for me) in our living area and another tells of the very last day of my dad’s life that I was priveleged to spend with him in its entirety.

    Sometimes it takes a long time – many years and much experience – to come to see whatever good there is to be found in the dross of our painful growing up years. But, for me, at least, it has come and I have come to treasure the good things that were there and that remain in my life. It has been God’s working in my life, and God’s alone, that has caused all of these things to be. My deeply loving relationship with my dad the last 8 years of his life, his tender and true love shown to me and to Tom, who he came to call his second son before he died. So many good things that came about through my endurance and perseverence (as you were talking about the other day) through all things, even when I saw no hope anywhere in anything.

    For all of those reasons, I particularly like the name you’ve given your blog – “Spiritual Oasis.” Ah – such a great place of refreshment and I’m so happy you’ve had a spiritual oasis kind of day today. May you have many more of those to come in your life with your family.

    Dee

  2. Angie says:

    You’re gifted with words, friend. I found myself wandering off in the beautiful imagery you’ve shown in this post… And a couple of times I found myself nodding my head in agreement with things you wrote. So very thankful. I’m in awe of how God can take any seemingly mundane task of our lives and show us His depth and majesty. Like you said though, that’s not very far away considering the beauty you were surrounded by. The farthest I’ve ever driven in the northeast would be through and along the New Jersey coast… in the fall, so it was breathtaking.

    I can’t imagine what heaven will be like. All these tastes sure are whetting my appetite though…

  3. Tom says:

    The one who is truly blessed is the one who recognizes his abundant bounty.

  4. Greg England says:

    Southern Rule of Thumb: Always go hunting with someone who weighs more and is in worse physical shape than yourself! Just makes sense.

    Sounds like beautiful country. I love driving through different parts of this country. Though you are from the panhandle of OK, I even find that drive fascinating!

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