I always come back down the mountain feeling exhausted because it is a lot of work, I definitely had one of my highest step total weeks because of all the hiking, walking around, setting up , breaking down camp, and since I don't drive anywhere during that week.
But I also come back down the mountain with a full heart and soul. The trees and the mountains, and the sunrises and the sunsets, the breeze, the birds all of creation is a glory to behold. I love the way the light changes from peaking through the bushes in the morning, to the bright sky in the afternoon, to the arrival of the shadows at night time. And then the stars shine, so close we think we can almost reach out and touch them.
And in addition to the environment there is a lot of talking going on, not just chit chat, but conversations about whether God loves us, whether the bible condemns or welcomes those in the LBGTQ community, and where are safe places in our communities we can talk about these things.
We tell jokes and play games and go to workshops and worship and campfires and we all let down our defenses and form a community in a short amount of time. For me it is what I think Jesus meant when he called us to be in community with one another to love one another with all our strength.
Of course it is not perfect. there are times when people have to be confronted about their behavior, the food is not always what people are expecting, we find snorers who keep up everyone in their cabin.
But we find ways to live, truly live with one another, warts and all in this beauty. And although I looked forward to sleeping on my own bed, take a shower in my own home and have time with my family, I do miss the community we had formed. So, I look forward to next year already, but also commit to seeing how I can create that same sort of safe place for people to be a part in life down the mountain. It seems to me that what the world craves, and yet seems so unable to create it. So here I go, boldly stepping out in faith, following the Spirit, bringing and accepting strength for the journey.