We are getting ready to go on a short camping trip and in considering the things to take, I remembered a camping experience in March 2014 where I thought I had covered all the bases, but, the Horrible/Wonderful Camping Trip was the result!
One month earlier we had adopted Cuddles, the first of our two miniature pinchers.
She was just getting used to us at home when we took her on a camping trip with our then 7-year old grandson who wanted to go camping for “Spring Break” which happened to be toward the end of a very cold winter.
While our grandson had been in the RV before, Cuddles had not. (Picture of us on the way to the RV … excitement and anticipation oozing out of every pore!)
The response of our canine daughter was much less than enthusiastic when the sounds of travel in the RV began, and when she was harnessed into a seat which she did not particularly appreciate.
When we arrived at the huge campground we found only one other RV and it was being stored, not used. (This shows a big campground that is not filled with campers … picture this with rain and mud, then you get the idea!)
Another clue that this was going to be a memorable (?) trip was the weather – not only was it cold, we drove through heavy rain all the way to the campground. But Grammy and Papa persevered because they had promised a camping trip and, by golly, we were going to produce on our promise!
Cuddles, on the other hand, was not as excited since she was a bit more realistic … going to the bathroom in freezing cold rain, on wind-swept frozen grass is just not her cup of tea. (Here she is shown shortly before this trip in our backyard with her coat on, standing at the window while looking at the snow … “do I really have to get in that? I am, after all, a member of the family!”)
And the 7-year-old grandson anticipated, correctly, that it was likely going to be his job to walk Cuddles at the campground, with his jacket on and hood up, until she went to the bathroom since Grammy and Papa were old, or rather “seniors”!
We, however, dismissed the bad weather outside because we were ready for inside recreation. We came armed with games, DVDs and video games to play since the rain would prevent us from doing much outside – but within minutes the [new] DVD player developed a thumping sound that permeated the heart and mind of all of us. It was a pitiful sight to see us viewing Wallace and Grommit when we missed every 4th word or more because of the persistent pounding.
When the movie failed, we decided to run some water in the sink for hot chocolate — and the frozen hose burst. Same held true with the shower hose, so our entertainment became a trip to a delightful RV supply store with Papa and the grandson installing replacement hoses and faucets.
Thinking, perhaps, that a rest might have helped the DVD, we tried the movie again but Wallace and Grommit still thumped their way through missing words.
We noticed a “dog park” when we pulled into the campground, so we promptly took off for that once the rain had ended. When we got there, we saw all the elements of a doggy playground … teeter/totter, tunnel, low fence to jump, ramp up to a trestle and a ramp down on the other side, with a lot of room to run and all of it was fenced so no leash was needed. Just what the doctor ordered after confinement in the RV. But, it was MUDDY after all the rain … no grass, just mud. When our grandson started to run to entice Cuddles to run, both the dog and the boy rained mud and neither of them liked it!
We marched back to the RV with one very dejected young man. But then he cheered up when he remembered that we always had a campfire to make s’mores. (Note, this is the campfire our grandson was dreaming of!)
But, Papa correctly said no campfire that night because the wind was blowing far too hard: a campfire would not burn as it was too windy and too wet, not to mention cold! Dejection reigned supreme!
But Dejection had met its match when it encountered Grammy!
I had seen a “portable s’more maker” advertised in a catalog. It looked interesting so I purchased it. When it came, I described it to a coworker and she said: “A portable s’more maker? That’s a pile of wood and a match!”
Well, no one really took me seriously, but my time to shine had come … I looked at my grandson and said “We don’t need a campfire because we can make s’mores inside where it’s warm with Grammy’s portable s’more maker!”
While he was a bit of a doubter at first, when I brought out the box, the potential promise of s’mores was too strong — he was willing to open it, just in case I was right. The ceramic pot with sterno fuel provides the heat to cook, or burn, the marshmallow, as your discriminating taste may prefer. He loved it and we had fun making s’mores that evening, even if it was blustery outside in the frozen, virtually empty campground. Papa even joined in the fun although it was a bit crowded around the small “campfire” in the RV.
We left the campground early the next day and returned to the warmth of the fireplace at home and talked about our camping trip … laughing about the broken hoses, the dog park mud, the empty campground, and the inside s’mores.
I had planned for a camping trip because it was something that our grandson said he wanted – what he really wanted was time with us and memories that were unique to our experience. Those he got in abundance.
How like our relationship with God. In Deuteronomy 11:13 we are commanded
“to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul”.
This commandment did not end when Jesus arrived because He reiterates this as the greatest commandment for us in Matthew 22:37.
In fact, Jesus promised that His Spirit would be with us, enabling us to do that which He commanded. See John 14:16-17:
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”
How do we show our love? Think about your first love, your spouse, children, or parents. The ways love can be expressed are as many and myriad as there are people.
But one of the prime characteristics of love in action is that you spend time with the object of your affection. This love does not ignore the many obligations that we have on a day-to-day basis; nor does this mean that all the time together must be at play. But spending time with the one you love is paramount, just as is your desire to do so.
So, we say we love the Lord. Do we desire to be with Him? How do we show our love for God?
Psalm 106:1 says:
“Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”
In Psalm 77:12, David says:
“I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.”
- Do you meditate on Jesus?
- Do you contemplate His worthiness for praise and glory?
- Do you read His Word and feed upon it?
- Do you worship Him privately as well as in corporate worship with other believers?
- Do you praise Him for all His marvelous works?
- Do you joy in your relationship with Him?
The camping trip certainly could have been better from a camping perspective … but the time we spent with our grandson was wonderful as well as memorable.
Now, remember that the Lover of your soul, the omnipotent, creator God, the One who has loved you since the foundation of the world.. it is this God Who desires to spend time with you!
Make yourself available and see what He will do!