Bend and Stretch

The inauguration of lazy summer mornings on July 1 was interrupted by urgent and violent trips to the loo, not by me, but by my poor husband. Over the course of the holiday weekend we spent many hours in ER, trying to resolve the issue – eventually identified as Campylobacter of unknown origin – instead of spending the weekend enjoying burgers and sunshine and cold drinks. With a boys backpacking trip only a few days away, we were grateful the infection was self-limiting and the symptoms had resolved by early in the week. The backpacking trip looked to be set to proceed, and preparations were underway.

With just the boys – all 5 – heading out for 3 days of tech-free wilderness immersion, I was pretty giddy with anticipation for an extended weekend of solo time at home. 3 days to sleep, write, binge-watch, do my nails, and read books in the hammock. No timelines or deadlines – only tan lines and sleep lines.

Friday morning dawned bright and sunny, and the forecast looked lovely. Perfect backyard weather. Rogers was experiencing their big nation-wide outage but I was with Telus so no big deal. Jeremy was out for the day for work at a Stampede event and while we usually communicated throughout the day, I wasn’t worried when the phone was silent – he was with Rogers and busy with job duties. As expected, his truck pulled up to the house at suppertime. I knew he’d be tired and hungry as the day was hot and there wasn’t always a guarantee of shaded tents at these events. He stepped wearily out of the truck and greeted me with these words…

“I’ve got bad news.”

Cue dramatic pause.

“I’m sick.”

Over the course of the day, a tickle in the back of his throat had become steadily more irritating, and had now progressed to a dry cough. He ate a brief supper and then decided that a nap might be just what he needed to reverse course, as after all, it was a long and tiring day and he was already run down and 8 pounds lighter from his recent bout with food poisoning.

As he dozed in the darkened bedroom, I pondered the impending decision I knew I would have to make. Short of an immediate and miraculous recovery, there were going to be two options.

One – cancel the boys camping trip altogether. While this option could possibly salvage some wee snippet of mommy-time, it would most definitely be a major lane departure from the anticipated weekend of introverted bliss.

Two – take the boys on the wilderness weekend myself. Which would absolutely be an expectation 180.

Either way, my dream weekend was out the window. And whatever path the next few days would take, I knew I had to address my attitude. I pulled out my phone and opened my devotional app.

4 words.

Rejoice. And. Be. Glad.

I stopped reading because the answer was clear. Whether I chose to cancel and stay comfortable or venture into the unknown with my progeny, I could choose to seek God’s gift of joy, and that would make all the difference.

This is not to say that the stretching and bending of wilderness camping was all rainbows and lollipops. Our mountaintop highs were sometimes followed by a bit of lost wandering. It was hard work, and we 5 had moments of frustration, pain, weariness, and hunger. But I dare say the experience will be locked in as a “core memory” for all of us – we returned tired and sore but maybe just a little bit richer.

Heading out
Beautiful views with my boys

P.S. When we returned, we were happy to find Dad/hubby feeling much better 🙂

Special thanks to Tina and Jesse, our guides for this “Family Outtrip”, from Crowsnest Lake Bible Camp.