This week at Lakeshore 4/8-14

This week felt much more truly like Spring at Lakeshore. We had the wishy-washy thermometer readings that you expect this time of year that cause all kinds of mixing and matching in the wardrobe department. This week, I found myself, many times, wearing a pair of shorts with a long sleeve T-shirt, or a short sleeve shirt with long pants. If you find yourself comfortable at one point during the day, you’re bound to be a little uncomfortable some time later, but it’s not a terrible kind of uncomfortable–just a chill or a slight sweat.

Everything is in bloom around the camp, so if you walk around, you’re nose will be treated to a sampler platter of smells. In particular, the blackberry bushes and honeysuckles are beginning to put smells into the air, and it’s far better than any febreeze fragrance or scented candle. You are walking along smelling nothing noticeable, then there something is. You may not even be able to find it. You may have no idea what it is. But something smells good. This is the time of year for these happy encounters. This just grows wild in the woods, and you don’t even have to do anything but walk past it. Every time I have one of these moments, while walking, I feel like something great is smiling on me. How great it is to be surrounded by things so pleasant.

There has been a buzz in the news this week about the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. This immediately reminds me of the large ship that took out the bridge near Murray, Kentucky just a few months ago. A huge ship just ran right into a bridge head-on, taking it out like a flimsy, decorative wire fence folding under the force of a tractor trailer. The bridge was just stretched across the front of the boat like a ribbon. These scenes are so fascinating. You could do the same thing with a toy boat and a paper clip, but it is mind-blowing when the boat is huge and you’ve actually driven your car over the bridge. And, with the Titanic, it seems so unlikely that something that enormous would stand on it front just before plunging to the bottom of the ocean.

I’ve heard about a cruise that is reenacting the Titanic voyage, trying to go the same route the original ship went back in 1912 (except it will actually make it to New York). When I first heard this, I thought what most people think: “wow, that’s really asking for it.” Then I thought about how people will make money off of anything these days. Then, I actually began to think it would be a pretty cool thing to be on. I imagined how it would feel to be on a liner like the Titanic, crossing the Atlantic, with all the top hats and canes. With those 4 huge stacks rising up from the boat and standing on the deck, hearing the ocean below. To feel like you had gone back in time and feel the excitement those people felt and understand what it might have felt like to them, had the ship arrived free from icebergs. I was disappointed to hear, finally, that it wasn’t a replica of the Titanic, but just a regular cruise ship that would retrace the route, stopping to have a memorial service where the ship sank. People would occasionally dress up in period costumes and pose in front of backdrops made to look like the original ballroom, but a two dimensional digital rendering is as close as you would get to feeling like you were on the boat. Then, it seemed pretty unremarkable to me.

On one night this week, we were supposed to have dipped below freezing, and there was a frost advisory. Dian talked about cover up her bushes and flower bed with sheets, which is what you do if you are responsible with your spring blooms, vegetables and fruit. There were times we had to go back to turning on heat this week. We had been sure that it was air conditioning from here on out. But, the weather toys with us, especially during the spring. As with most things, if you think you’ve completely figured it out, you are bound to be fooled shortly.

It was Friday the 13th, and now that we are a few minutes past midnight, I think that I can say we fared pretty well today. All of our groups made it in, all our mirrors seem to be in good shape, no ladders are out to walk under, and there are no black cats in the vicinity. Vickie pointed out to me that it was Friday the 13th, and we both made sarcastic “oooooooohs,” at the prospect of the terrible day. It can be amusing to laugh at omens. We get a confidence about us when we think we understand something. I’ve dumped plenty of salt in my time without throwing it over my left shoulder. I’ve left pennies on the sidewalk with tails facing up. There is an umbrella across the room from me that I’m considering opening before I go outside. We surely have the answers to explain what happens much more rationally, right? I bet, though, if the passengers of the MS Balmoral feel a jolt to their ship this week in open waters, they will wonder if they tempted fate just a little too much–even if it’s just regular turbulence.

The first night of our April class of Counselor Training is finished up. We’ve worshiped and the campers have returned to their cabins. I will do my rounds on the camp very soon to be sure no one has snuck out of their cabin. It is quiet for now at camp. I can hear a train in the distance and the clock on the wall ticking. Who knows what will come tomorrow, though? What will this group teach me? What will I teach them? Who will they be? Who will I be? I don’t expect anything too unusual. But, I hope for something interesting. Not a ship sinking under my feet. Just the occasional scent of sweetness growing up out of this ground, received without even asking as we pass through God’s Earth.

This week we are hosting a Counselor Training Retreat, a Youth Lay Speaker Training, and Jackson First UMC Confirmation. We pray for some good signs all around.

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