Five Life Lessons I Learned on a Camping Trip: Lesson #1 When the Plan Falls Apart, Begin Again

For Spring Break this year, our family took to the road with our trailer and drove about five hours north to visit our family. The trip had been long anticipated, and everyone was excited to see family and camp for three nights. This was the first time we would be spending more than just one night in the trailer, and as we drove the fear of this being a miserable failure kept creeping in my mind. Maybe we should have done one more trip close to home, just in case. I thought. What if that last time Hope actually slept through the night was a total fluke and we are now going to spend three nights with a screaming two year old?? As per usual, the things we worry about are never the things that end up going wrong. Ya feel me?

We got to our destination, and after a quick stop to drop off three kids with my sister in law, Franz and I drove the short distance to their subdivision’s campground. It was absolutely gorgeous. And there was hardly anyone there! Score for us! If Hope did scream through the night we at least wouldn’t be keeping too many people awake. It was getting dark when we pulled in to a space, and my husband hurriedly started setting everything up, while Hope and I kept him company. Just as he was almost done leveling the trailer, the camp host pulled up to let us know that the space we were in was in the part of the campground that was currently shut off from all the utilities. He apologized and directed us to which campsites were up and running, and Franz set about undoing all the work he had just done. Hurdle number one, I thought to myself.

We moved our space, set everything back up, retrieved our children, fed them dinner and put them to bed an hour later than normal. It was a whirlwind of an evening, but we all slept great, even the two year old! The next day was full of playing with family, and enjoying our time together. The kids rode bikes, and played on the small playground, while the adults had actual real conversations with only small interruptions from a cranky toddler who would only be appeased with snacks. Another successful night’s sleep, and we woke up ready for the day and more fun.

When you have that many people to account for, and are trying to coordinate schedules, and time frames, and everything in between, some things can get lost in translation, and the plans we had made for the day slowly fell apart. We found ourselves just sitting in the trailer, bummed, waiting for something to happen. Waiting for someone to decide the course for the day. And then we realized, nobody is coming to rescue us. This was up to us to make the decision, make the call, choose the path.

Once we stopped waiting to be rescued, the day was suddenly opened up wide for adventure. We decided to explore a path we had watched people coming and going on, it was beautiful but also prickly and muddy. We almost turned back three times, but for some reason I just couldn’t bring myself to stop walking. We ended up at the banks of a river (I’m not even sure what river it was) and it was beautiful. Franz skipped rocks and the boys tried to imitate him. Hope just chucked them in, delighting in the splash. It was so relaxing to have nowhere to be. We spent the rest of the day playing, watching butterflies land on tiny flowers, and laughing together. Those memories are my favorites from the entire trip!

When my plans in life fall apart I think this is often where I get stuck, waiting for someone else to come along and fix it. Be the “real” adult and tell me what the next step should be. I stay frozen while I wait for this to magically happen, and it results in a whole lot of nothing. During our trip I was reading a new book by Leeana Tankersley called Begin Again, and she talks about how God is always inviting us to begin again with Him. She brings up the point that beginning again can be minute by minute, hourly, daily, weekly, but always it is an invitation. One we can either choose to ignore and stay in our sameness, or to take and trust that God is opening up a door to something new. Nobody else can choose that for us. That’s the part that kinda sucks, it would be so much easier if someone else could make the call. We freeze because we are afraid we will choose wrong, make a mistake, but we sure can miss a lot when we are waiting.

After we got back to the trailer, muddier but lighter in spirit than when we had left, Franz and I kept saying how glad we were we had done that. Sitting in the trailer, lamenting over changed plans would have been easier. Boring, but easier. It wouldn’t have required effort or thought, but we would have missed out on something so much more life giving. When the plan falls apart, lets not be afraid to begin again.

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