White noise … OFF

I didn’t realize until about four days in how I live my life with an underlying, low level current of stress. Hurry. Chaos. Noise. It literally took four days of it being absent before I noticed.

It was like when you’re in an office building. It’s quiet. You’re unaware of the white noise that is running in the background. You think it’s quiet. But then suddenly the power goes out and white noise turns off and it’s silent. And you realize what you thought was silent actually wasn’t silent at all. Now it’s truly silent.

So it took time, but finally four days into last week, I realized I felt calm. Peaceful. Relaxed. Gentle. Quiet. Soft.

It was a feeling both unfamiliar and yet so, so welcome.

We were at a small camp tucked away deep in the Cimarron Valley. We were spending a week attending a family camp at Sonrise Mountain Ranch.

When we arrived, the first thing we saw was an idyllic lake with a small dock lined with a few pedal boats and canoes. Next to the lake was a lush green lawn with a large tree for shade, a few picnic tables, and a small round deck with some wicker chairs jutting out into the lake. Around the lake was a gravel path, which led to eight small log cabins scattered up the hill among the aspen trees. Off to one side, there was a large fire pit area, surrounded by log benches and dwarfed by the towering cliffs of the nearby valley walls. At one point the gravel path forked and led down to the rushing river. Next to the river was a spot with another fire pit and more picnic tables.

Everything was immaculately groomed and maintained. The entire valley was green in a way you rarely see in Colorado.

It was like a hidden pocket of hope.

There were eight families attending this camp, a small kitchen staff, some college-age summer interns to host families and run the kids program and a grounds crew. So the group was small enough to be intimate and personal and large enough to be interesting.

We spent our days literally unplugging from the world. No cell service. No wifi. My phone didn’t even come out of my bag, save for once to take a video.

We were completely cared for, body mind and spirit. Delicious, homemade food for every meal. Dining on the back patio, under the grandeur of the mountains. Substantive, challenging content during our morning sessions. Corresponding kids programming adjusted to their ages. A daily challenge at the family challenge course. Plenty of afternoon free time to explore the hundreds of hiking trails nearby, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Ouray or fishing spots. Campfires at night, complete with worship and endless s’mores.

The families that were at the camp with us were another surprise gift. Tyce had about four nine year old boys who he literally spent morning to night with. He’d run out the cabin door first thing in the morning, yell over his shoulder “I’m meeting Joshua at the pond, Mom!” and then we’d catch a few glimpses of him throughout the day.

There were kids ranging from 18 months to 16 years old. Despite the wide age range, everyone got along well. It was beautiful, actually. The interns poured into the kids, and for Cara especially, they surfaced a new and beautifully deep part of her that we hadn’t seen before.

In our group of 16 adults from around the country, there was a blend of ages, professions and interests including four counselors and a gifted singer/songwriter/worship leader.

Let that sink in a minute.

With all the junk we were coming to camp with — with all the struggles and conflict and tension we packed up in our car and brought with us — here we were dropped in the middle of the wilderness with multiple counselors and a worship leader.

It was as if God knit this exact group together intentionally to provide perfect God-moments throughout the week.

Conversations on life and parenting on the deck in the afternoon sun. Conversations on life and marriage in the food line. A night of sharing and encouragement around the campfire, followed by an hour of acoustic worship. A spontaneous solo of The Prayer on a hike through a canyon, the beautiful tenor echoing off the canyon walls. An unplanned, yet deliberate and symbolic moment of heart change on the dock at the end of the week.

Words can’t quite capture it. Photos can’t really do it justice either. The beauty and peace and soul rest we found last week is otherworldly. Heavenly.

Literally a taste of what’s to come. May it be so, Jesus.

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