Do you have a spot? A special place that brings warmth to your heart and calms your soul? I have a few. That fun green chair that fits my butt just right at LaGrange Coffee Roasters. The view of the birds from my dining room window. The sun rising on my downtown Louisville work place’s old architecture.
It’s beauty and comfort that is consistently there. Even if I’ve been away from it for a while, it’s there waiting on me.
I wrote last year about my annual Camping Buddies trip. This special group of people gathered for the 25th year in a row over this past Memorial Day weekend. And it was while on this trip, I realized how many special spaces I have at this particular camp ground alone.
This year we got the one tent pad away from the rest of the group, the isolated spot that overlooks the lake. It was nice for many reasons. For one, my whole family got the giggles over a fart joke as we were going to bed…and I was glad to know we didn’t have close neighbors to over hear our goofiness. But this location also let us open up the front door to the lake in the morning. Nothing is quite as peaceful as that. My little oasis home for a day or so.
The next spot I wouldn’t describe as quite so peaceful, but just as special. It involves steak. You see, we don’t eat your traditional camping food. Sure, we snack on a lot of junk food, but Saturday night is steak night. Jon manages the charcoal grill and cooks everyone’s steak to order, adding his own special seasonings. After 25 years, he finally believed me when I told him I wanted my steak for real rare. He hesitantly served it to me, but it was fantabulous. I’ve had my share of nice steak dinners, but there is something about his particular steak, cooked outside, and enjoyed with this particular group of people.
This next spot isn’t even mine, but I don’t think he’ll mind if I share it with you. Boyd, one of the Camping Buddy grands (kid of a kid who started camping years ago) was fascinated by the fire. All his little four year old self wanted to do was throw things on the flame. In an attempt to ensure our safety and his, he was instructed to only throw those little spikey balls that fall from the tree.
He would pitch one or two at a time in the fire, half expecting them to explode every time. But then he hit the jackpot. A tree that had dropped a bunch of undiscovered pokies. He grabbed a handful and came running back ecstatically yelling….”It’s a whole garden of spikey bombs!”. It sounded like a land straight out of Narnia, and the magic Boyd saw in it made this little patch of land his own special spot.
The last spot is my favorite, it’s down off the trail leading down to the dock. You skirt off to the right, and crawl down the hill, crouching to lower you center of gravity so you don’t tumble head first. Waiting for me at the bottom is my rock. It’s my haven. No matter what I may have been struggling with in life for the past 25 years, it’s quiet and peaceful here. Normal teenage struggles, singleness, sin, family stress, hurt, pain, change. It all just melts away here for a moment.
The perfectly level rock jutting out of the side of the hill lets me sit comfortably and overlook the whole lake. I can see all the way across to the docks, take in the houses built far up on the hills, and watch the boaters fly by.
My favorite thing to do is watch a storm come in from this perch. The lake wind kicks up, and I can watch the wall of water and the dark skies crawl across the lake. I know I’m safe because it’s so far away. Maybe it’s those storms that make the troubles of life seem a thing off in the distance, even for just a moment. Because I know they’re real and coming back. But in that moment it’s all peace.
I like to think my Savior knew I’d need that spot when he created that rock. He knew that the bigness of His creation and majesty that is so evident from this spot would make me sit still and know that He is God. And it would put the heaviest parts of my heart into perspective. Those storms He holds off so I can just enjoy Him and the peace He brings.
Those are my special spots. I think God loves us enough to put them all around us. Places that are constant and safe, even if no one else gets it. They are gracious reminders of the constant protection and safety of the One who loves us so much. And we get a momentary glimpse of what forever sitting in His presence- in perfect contentment, not wanting to leave- will be like.