Camping With Christians

So, I got the idea in my head that it might be fun to go camping with some people from my church.  We live in an amazingly beautiful area, and even though I’m not super outdoorsy girl, I’ve done some camping in my life.  I went camping with The Collector a couple of times last summer and had fun.  Plus, it’s an inexpensive, adventurous activity.

I’ve been thinking about taking my kids camping all summer, but I didn’t want to go by myself.  That just didn’t seem like a good idea where safety and security are concerned, but in the midst of a church group I could totally do it.

The Pastor and his wife, who are friends of mine (both in their mid to late 30s and with kids close in age to mine), made the arrangements rather last-minute and it wasn’t easy.  Because I had brought up the idea, I felt obligated to go.  Despite the fact that I knew it might be taxing on my anxiety, I was determined.

The day before was really a fantastic day.  The kids and I got all pack up, checked the tent and everything.  I was in the moment absorbed in the project and it felt good.  I was enjoying planning and packing with my kiddos.  By the time Thursday came we had everything ready to go, except the food and ice for the cooler.

Thursday morning we started out at a leisurely pace.  After we got going we stopped at the store to buy food, and the kids were starting to get antsy.  Our list was pretty  long and the shopping trip was taking longer than we anticipated.  They were starting to drive me crazy, and we hadn’t even left town yet!

I took a deep breath and reminded myself that they were just super excited.

At the register we saw one of the other families from church also stocking up for the camping trip.  They had 3 smiling faces in tow, and my babes chatted with theirs about the swimming hole near our campground.

There was road construction along the way to the campgrounds, which makes my anxiety go ape shit.  I hate feeling trapped like that.  Eventually we got to the campgrounds and it was hot and packed.  The Pastor had saved me a spot but let me know another family may have to pull their RV in and share with me.

At first I had no problem with that, but in less than an hour I had tears in my eyes, and was thanking God that hadn’t happened.  You see, what I hadn’t realized in planning out this whole trip is that I had surrounded myself with happily married couples and their families.  Every where I looked they seemed to be frolicking, laughing, riding their bikes —together.   I set up camp by myself, with no one to talk to.   I realized, this was an F-ing horrible idea.

The kids were off riding their bikes.  I hadn’t been able to fit mine on the bike rack.  I puttered around the site while kiddos ran around playing and laughing in total bliss with all the church kids.  Meanwhile I was doing my best to fight back tears.  They were having a blast, which only made me feel more trapped.  I couldn’t imagine having to share the tiny campsite with one of those idyllic families.

While I continued setting up camp, the family we’d seen at the store earlier offered to take my kiddos along to the swimming hole and off they went.  Finally, I could let my emotions out.  What a miserable cry I had.

I’ll tell you what, though…  It got better.  It got a whole lot better.   I guess after I released the sadness at being alone in a group of happily marrieds, then I could move on and start enjoying myself.  We grouped together around the campfire and sang while the kids did goofy dances and banged sticks and pine cones together with the rhythm.  We talked.  We prayed, and we got to know each other a little better.

Another church member arrived who is also a single parent.  I had heard his name before but never met him.  He’s a lawyer, a little heavy, and probably more than 10 years older than me but I was glad not the be the only “unmarried” one around.

The next day The Pastor’s wife arrived and brought my bike for me… so we hit some mountain bike trails, spent hours and hours at the most incredible swimming hole I’ve ever seen…  and swung off an enormous rope swing in to the ice-cold water until we couldn’t swing anymore!  After the sadness it became a couple of days of magic and I was SO glad I had gone.  The trip also gave me some fodder for the blog…  more on that coming up!

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Published in: on August 30, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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