Going down Memory Lane is not always fun.
We are up in northern Wisconsin at Honey Rock Camp at a 50 year anniversary celebration. We haven’t been here in many years, and of course, there are lots of changes in this place.
This afternoon I walked around, trying to picture where the old office was.
The office with a public phone booth, where in August, 1973, at the end of my very first week here, I’d gone to call my dad to tell him: I can’t do this. I want to go home.
I’d signed up to work here at Honey Rock for only six weeks. But this camp was unlike any camp I’d experienced. It was a big operation and I was expected to work in construction hard-solid from 8-5, with no time for swimming or crafts.
I didn’t know anyone and it was cold and I was tired of the hard work. I wanted to quit.
My dad listened to me, then said something like this, “Just stick it out one more week.”
In that week, some kind of miracle happened. I began to love this place, and easily kept my six-week commitment.
Good thing I did.
I met Jake the very last week.
Being back in this place, forgotten memories have come back.
Often in this place I was hard-pressed and thought I can’t do this. I want to go home.
Picture this . . . me with a backpack on a muddy trail . . . me looking up at a rock cliff I had to climb . . . me angry with someone . . . me wearing a filthy apron in the kitchen . . . me weeping crumpled on the floor in a closet.
I lived here only one year, the first year of our marriage.
Remembering the challenges of that year, my jealousies, my pride, my loneliness and my deep fears … like I said, going down Memory Lane is not fun.
So why do we do it? Why did we drive all the way up here to attend this reunion?
That is what I was asking myself, when I remembered that phone call, that memory of support from my dad, and how God changed my heart.
It was here, in this place, that I first faced down those lies I can’t do this. I want to go home.
It was here in this place where I first learned how temporary hardship was part of a long blessing.
It was here, in this place, the theme in my life — of my blog — began: “God is determined to get me to obey Him, just so He can bless me.”
Going down Memory Lane does include remembering stories of struggles and failures, and maybe I’d rather not revisit the shame or pain, but it is important to remember.
Because each story has a God part.
Each one is a testimony to God’s grace, His help in time of need, and eventual long blessing.
So that is why we drove all this way. To thank God for all the things He did for us . . . here . . . in this place.