Saturday, 14 June 2008

Saturday Ramblings...

I have made it through my first 2 weeks at CH. My first week was probably one of the hardest weeks ever, it wasn’t bad but it was difficult. I was one on one with a high needs behavioural guest and it was pretty intense at moments. In the middle of the week I really questioned whether this is the right thing for me but somehow amidst the frustration, worry and tiredness I had a peace. I was told that most weeks won’t be as hard as that first one, I am hoping this is true.

This past week I had three male guests…..I worked with one of the male staff to provide care. They were three very sweet men, two of them were deaf and one was deaf in one ear and so I was trying to learn some sign language this week. The three of them loved to sit in the lounge and rock in the chairs, so I would bring my book along and read while they rocked….it was pretty funny. One of my highlights of this past week was the water games activity where I pretty much got thrown into a pool of water and doused with cold water…..however I may have asked for it…lol!

I wrote in my previous blog about the lonliness I was feeling……that is gone now. I am making lots of new friends and everyone is getting to know one another and we are becoming more of a team. There are some wonderful people here, so unique and all here to serve others. In a week or two the highschool students will arrive to work, so I wonder how that will change things?

One thing that I really enjoy about this place is the beauty of it. Paisley is pretty much in the middle of nowhere! It’s about an hour from Owen Sound or 20 minutes from Port Elgin, if you know where that is. It set back in the country amongst rolling hills and trees. If you walk down the camp driveway out to the road you walk down this laneway with trees lining both sides and as soon as you hit the end of the driveway it is like a clearing of open space. The sky opens up and you fill like you have a glimpse of heaven on earth. I sometimes wish I could paint because I would capture that clearing. There is another spot at the camp, which has come to be known by all as ‘Devo Hill’. It is this hill you can walk up and see everything for miles. Apparently it is a good make out spot but I think it’s a good spot to think and reflect on the beauty of God and how I get to be a part of His plan.

This weekend I am staying around this area. I spent last night at the camp and then this afternoon I am going to try to find my way to the Centre For Student Leadership in Clarksburg where a party is being held for a friend of mine who has just gotten his doctorate. Last night a few girls and I watched this movie called ‘Into The Wild’. It’s a very interesting movie. It’s about this guy who basically gets tired of materialism and leaves his family to go into the wild by himself……his only plan is to get to Alaska. He makes it to Alaska and lives in an abandoned bus that he finds. In the end he comes to the conclusion, which I think is the central theme of the film, that happiness is best shared. After living and surviving on his own for almost 2 years he realizes that life is better shared.

God designed us to be in relationship with one another. We need each other. I was talking to a guy this week who describes his Holy Discontent as being North America…..I asked him if he could be more specific and he went on to describe the way a lot of people live their lives in North America. This film made me think about the conversation I had with him. He talked about how people live meaningless lives with the purpose of earning more money. They wake up, go to work, come home, watch tv, go to bed and start all over again the next morning. This reminded me of the thought about people burying their gifts that I have been pondering for the last month or so. I heard once that people are spiritual gifts. We are gifts to one another; we need each other. I believe that there are people who are not burying their gifts because I am witnessing it right now. I also believe that there are some people who are like what the guy described and I believe that God wants more for them. I also wonder what it might look like for those people to live differently? I am not sure. Sometimes I think I fall into the same category of being materialistic.

What does it mean to live simply?

I am not trying to pick on people but I am learning that life holds so much more purpose and fullness when we are open to the more that God has for us. I am learning that God swims in the deep end with us when the water seems over our heads. I wish that more people could really know God because I think our world would look so different.

As I write this I am also reminded that it has to start with me. I have to live this way. I have to be open to the more that God has for me. I have to become less and God more.

I don’t know if I could ever be one of those people who lives with just a backpack in a hut because I live in this culture and I feel blessed. I enjoy having a roof over my head, driving a car, having nice clothes and buying things I like…..but I really think that it’s not one way or the other. I believe you can live in this culture, in North America and still live differently, still live in the more that God has. I am just figuring out what that means…..thankfully along with others too.

I think the key is people. Happiness is best shared. People first. Others first. Loving people where they’re at. Engaging in life with them……wherever they are and whoever they are.

Maybe it’s that simple. Love God and Love people. Maybe if we do that then everything else won’t seem like such a big issue.

I don’t know, these are just my ramblings.

Last thought for this morning…….I am pretty thankful in this moment that God is still working on me because after two weeks of serving I have come to the conclusion that I am utterly selfish. I think my motto must be Love God…….oh and Love people when it’s convenient for me. This must change.

You can pray for me in this. I feel so stretched at times but I just want to keep learning and loving.

I hope you have a wonderful Saturday,

Saturday, May 31, 2008

I have decided to try and blog a bit while I am at camp or while I have my day off on Saturday. However, since I do not have wireless here at camp I will most likely write the blog out and then post it when I do have internet.

As I have already written, I am spending my summer working at one of the Christian Horizons camps located in the thriving metropolis of Paisley, Ontario. If you have never been to Paisley you really should check in out….you can drive through the town in probably 30 seconds! I arrived here on Wednesday and didn’t know what to expect. It takes me about 4 hours to get here. 2 of those hours are a series of highways and the other 2 are a series of back roads….and I mean back roads! The drive feels like a long one but it is very beautiful, I drive right through Mennonite country, which I love. My first few days of staff training were very overwhelming. I cried, more than once…..of course not where anyone could see or hear me. I got here and there were 2 crowds, the leadership team and the EBC students…..I am not either! I know that it takes time to build relationships but I must say loneliness is an awful feeling especially when you are in such an unknown setting. I am starting to get to know people a bit more, which I am so thankful for. Tomorrow the first week of guests start to arrive. The first week are all adults with high needs so I will be one-on-one with a guest. I am quite nervous. I have never done personal care like toileting and showering before so that seems to be at the top of my nervousness. I just want to make sure my guest gets the best care. A lot of the staff are so experienced so hopefully I can learn quickly and it will become easy for me.

When I left my house on Wednesday I felt like the Lord and I were going on a road trip. I felt like I was walking into the complete unknown. I have lived away from home before, when I was a Youthbuilder, but this is different. I am in the complete unknown and I am in this place of complete servanthood. I have been thinking a lot about servanthood this week. I think a lot of us are really into convenient serving, like it’s easy to serve when you are in the comfort zone. You get to leave when you want, if you don’t feel well you can go home, we don’t feel the effects of serving. One of the motto’s here at CH is ‘It’s not about me’ and it totally isn’t. It’s about giving your guests the best vacation and if that means you are up with them in the night because they need you then that’s what you need to do. It can be the kind of serving that takes a toll on your body and your spirit but it’s worth it because you are loving someone in this radical way. Each person that comes in the door is Jesus.

In the first couple days of being at CH I wondered why the Lord wants me here because all along I felt so strongly that this is where he wants me. It’s really easy to want to quit when things don’t feel safe or in your control and you feel so inadequate but that is when you remember that it’s not in your own strength that you can do things but in the Lord’s strength. I am not in this alone. It feels big but God is bigger and even though I feel like I have so little to offer I trust that the Lord has something in store. I want to be in the best place, in the sweet spot of God’s grace. I have said that I want to really know and trust Jesus more, I have said that I want to serve and keep growing and learning how to love people and this summer I get a chance to do that. It’s funny how sometimes we have this picture perfect idea in our minds about how some experience will be and somehow it never turns out to be that way. Sometimes being molded to be more and more like Christ hurts a little and causes you to worry and panic but you just gotta hold onto Him more tightly because you come out stronger, more loving, and with roots that go down a bit deeper.

I wonder if my heart will look a little different after this summer is over….hopefully I make it through….lol!

I have no idea what this week will hold but hopefully I will come out of it with more experience in the area of personal care =) !

Still Trusting Him,