It’s a clear night tonight, so I decided to sit outside for a few minutes and look at the stars. We’re out “in the sticks” enough that we can see many more stars than in the Tri-Cities proper. I was fully expecting to see the sky covered in stars, much like when we would clim up on our cabin’s roof after Campfire at Crater.
No such luck. We’re still too close to the city and there’s too much light pollution. Needless to say, I was disappointed. There’s nothing like looking up and seeing satellites make their way across the blanket of stars.
Tonight I realized how much I want to be able to share some taste of my experience in New Mexico with Christy and the kids. I want to take them to what seems like the middle of nowhere and say, “This is where I learned how to have a stage presence…This is where I perfected my baseball swing – hitting rocks over the lake with an axe handle…This is where we had our not-really-contained-but-officially-contained fire pit…This is where Karl opened one of our Campfires carrying a torch and wearing a bedsheet in honor of the Atlanta Olympics…This is where I was almost struck by lightning and then pummeled with golf ball-sized hail in a surprise thunderstorm…This table is where I wrote countless letters to Christy and began to fall in love with her…” and then climb up onto the roof of the cabin and show them the majesty of God’s creation and the vast expanse of space – unadulterated by city lights. I want point to that sea of lights and say, “Do you see those stars? God was thinking of you and me when He told Abraham that his decendents would be more numerous than the stars in this sky. That’s how much God knows about you and loves you!”
It has been 10 years since my first staff experience at Philmont. Next year will be the tenth anniversary of my Crater Lake experience. I believe I am only now beginning to understand how much that summer impacted my life. A few weeks ago, I led our church through communion, and Christy later told me that my presence changes when I begin to lead a communion service. She knew what I was going to say and how I was going to say it before I actually did so. It’s because Andy’s stage presence somehow rubbed off on me. Time at the Table is the climax of the drama we call a worship service. Because of that dramatic element, I think I naturally revert back to the best storyteller I have worked with. Andy knew how to work a crowd of rowdy boys, and his stories were amusing and captivating at the same time. Gerhart – you rubbed off on me, whether you like it or not!
Philmont Scout Ranch had become my summer home away from home, having spent some time there every year from 1990 thru 1996. I guess, in some ways, I got homesick today for “Scouting Paradise.”