We have bounced all over the weather spectrum this week at Lakeshore: we’ve had cold days, mild days, rainy days, snowy days, foggy days, and even the occasional peek of sun. For the most part, there have been clouds, and they have formed these beautiful blue layers in the sky above the river. If you are out walking at mid-afternoon, it would be easy to keep your eyes on the path and completely miss something so gorgeous taking up about half of the space your eyes can see. But, I almost missed it several times. Luckily, I looked up from my thoughts and agenda, saw it, and even said aloud to myself, “wow, that is just beautiful. It’s easy to think you know something, especially if you’ve lived with it for many years. But, most things are so complex, that we realize there is something new to discover each day. Who knows what new thing I might stumble over today?
The Board of Ordained Ministry spent time this week, making the very difficult decisions of who they will recommend of a group of potential deacons and elders to serve under those titles. It is like a week long job interview, and it looks from my perspective to be intense, stressful, and tiring to everyone involved. When you join this group for a meal, you tend to talk about things completely removed from what is going on: you talk about your dog or memories from camp. These pastors have been talking about theological, high minded things for hours on end. You want to just put your arms around everyone and hand them a warm, buttery roll. You part ways and know they will go back to more discussion, then the stressful time of wondering what is to be done with all that talk. What will be decided?
Valentine’s Day came to Lakeshore this week, and Dian played Cupid for the staff. For every woman on staff, there was a rose waiting and for every male there was a tin with a chocolate chip cookie. This was as close as we got to taping a decorated paper bag to the side of our desks and waiting for people to drop 4×8 in. cards with Snoopy, Garfield, Transformers, Sponge Bob, or the cast of Glee wishing us Happy Valentine’s Day is some very clever phrase that references both love and something they are holding in the picture. As is the case with these mid-level holidays that you don’t get a day off for (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween) most of us acknowledge it by doing our duty to the person most involved (significant other, mom, dad, kids, etc) on our own and then make a few snide comments about it to our co-workers. We complain about how we will have to order flowers and go out to eat. We will rib those who forgot to do something and spend more time rolling our eyes than dreamily looking into someone else’s.
It’s easy to have a cynical view for a holiday that tries to sum up something as complex as love to one day–especially when our tradition for celebration really boils down to buying cards, flowers, candy, and dinner. It is also easy to be cynical because all of us have loved and been let down. It’s hard to look at love nostalgically when you’ve thrown yourself into it and that love was not appreciated. And, let’s be honest: people in love are pretty annoying. This backlash is usually more directed at the people who publicize their love a little too much. Really, we don’t like anyone who flaunts something so sacred and so sought after by all of us. I think Jesus was feeling this when he talked about the hypocrites praying so loud and flashy in public. It was the PDA of their day.
As I was making my way up to the Conference Center this week, and as I crossed the Volleyball Court, I heard a couple of playful screeches coming from behind the hill. I looked up, because I immediately recognized it as the sound of a Bald Eagle. Then, two Bald Eagles came flying, fairly low to the ground, calling to each other, flying very near. I imagined that they were courting, heading for a nest to be with their family. Today, I was walking to the Waterfront and saw two large white birds. They looked a lot like Pelicans, but I really don’t know what they were. I thought about the way I’ve seen large birds, who are generally monogamous, get together and raise a family. I watch with what care they look out for each other when they feed. I see them lead their young around and protect them with such passion. It really looks like true love.
So often, we turn our nose up at love, because we have seen so many petty versions of it. We have seen it not be genuine. We have poured our soul out to someone and they have rejected us. We have declared our love for the work we want to do and been told that we were not ready, despite what we think. And we have read far too many facebook posts about, “…going out tonight to Bahama Breeze tonight with my pookie dookie.” But catch that true moment between those who love each other. These moments not meant to draw attention to someone or make someone a bunch of money. Look at the sacrifice, the sincerity, the willingness to wait and grow because you would not be without the other. Real love, though not always pretty, is a beautiful thing.
This weekend we our hosting our first Scrapbooking Retreat of the year. Pray with us for a time of peace and relaxation while are guests are with us. It is also the post-mark deadline for Summer Staff Applications today. Pray for our applicants and our interview team, that we may both be lead by God’s calling.