This week at Lakeshore 10/17-23

It seems for the time being that Lakeshore is locked into a cruise control of perfect temperatures but very little rain. It is, for my purposes, the makings of a perfect day, weather wise. You start with the cool morning, it warms up over the course of the day, but not too much. Then, it cools down as you get ready to snuggle down under a few warm blankets. There’s no rain or even mud on the ground, so you can go out as you please and enjoy temperatures that couldn’t be better if you set the thermostat yourself. Ah, problems arise with our ideas of perfection. When you have weeks and weeks of no rain, it gets a little dangerous. We are at the point here, where any spark could light up the grass, which could light up the brush, which might even get the trees going. On top of that, we wonder how these trees that have been dry for so long will hold up if we have a strong rain and they soak up that extra weight so quickly. Martha was predicting earlier this week that the first decent rain we get, all the leaves left on the trees will drop, and we’ll be left with bare branches.

The rains did come for just a few minutes this week, which is much more than we’ve had. It was enough to darken the blacktop outside the office, but not enough to wet the area under parked cars. This rain wasn’t even strong enough to make you speed up when you’re walking outside. It was, though, the most we’ve had in a long while. I imagine this rain hitting the ground, similar to using a water dropper on a hot skillet. Or that feeling when you’re really thirsty and you go to a restaurant where they use small glasses. You drink it down the moment it reaches the table and have to wait, still thirsty, for the next time your server comes around.

We had a group from a teen recovery center out to do our zipline and giant swing. They were supposed to do our climbing tower, but when we got out there, for some reason, there were wasps all around the top of the tower. We opted for a non-wasp alternative and they kids seemed to have a good time. I was happy that we didn’t have someone swarmed and stung 24 times as a rewarding for climbing to the top of the climbing tower. As I returned from our High Ropes area, after taking the course down, I noticed the group had still not left. I learned that one of the youth had left the group and hedded towards the woods. This, of course, happens from time to time when you work with youth of any age or background. You stick around long enough, and you’ll have someone, for whatever reason, try to get away.

The recovery center’s policy is to call law enforcement when this happens, so we quickly had a sheriff’s deputy out searching. While this was going on, the youth made his way to a residence just down the road to a good friend of ours. The boy wanted to call his father, because he missed him and had not seen him in a long time. Our neighbor let him call, and the boy spent some time crying, talking to his father, who said that he could not come to get him, and that he would have to stay. Eventually it was put together where he was, and the sheriff kindly returned him to his supervisors, and he went back peacefully. It seemed he missed home enough that he would take off through the woods, unsure of what was waiting out there. Luckily, he knocked on the door of a friend.

You never know when you meet someone all the things they are carrying with them. One moment they are getting hooked into a zip line, flying across 500 feet of open air, looking down on the hills and valleys below. You look down and feel like a hawk swooping over patches of land that you can take or leave anytime you want. You might believe, for a second, you can pick up and fly away to anywhere at anytime. Just hours later are crying on the porch of a stranger, begging to get back to where you started.

You never know when the curtain might fall for you or someone else. The leaves on our trees are telling us their fall is coming. The maples are in their brilliant oranges and yellows these days. If you have a groove of nice sized ones, the sunlight is tinted, and it just makes you feel a little better to have that light on your shoulders. The oaks are holding on to green for now. But, we can tell the drop is coming. Sometime the wind will blow, the rain will return, or those stems will finally weaken and they will line the ground we walk on.

The wind and rain may push us too, carrying so many things good and bad. We know that there will probably come a time where it gets to be too much, and we will try our best to remove what we’re carrying. We’ll do all we can think to do, sometimes we’ll grasp for whatever is there in front of us. And, we’ll hope that we find a friendly face to accept us as strangers in strange lands, whether we’re right or wrong. Until that time comes for us. Let’s enjoy this weather that seems so perfect. It is all a gift.

This weekend we will have youth from Covenant, Covington, and Selmer UMC as well as members of Beech Bluff and Mount Pleasant UMCs. Let’s pray we see God this weekend.

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