Last week, I was camping with my husband Jerry. On the evening of day four of our trip, it had been raining for about 24 hours, but the inside of our tent was dry. We sat in our two camp chairs wearing little headlamps (yes, they look as dorky as you imagine) so we could read in the pitch black. Yet another very strong thunderstorm was raging, with lightning strikes nearby. The thunder was, well, thunderous. It was raining so hard you could hardly hear yourself think over the sound of it on the nylon.
I looked around at our Spartan living circumstances for the week. Everything fit in the back of our car—even the collapsible “house” we inhabited. We had an inflatable mattress, two laundry baskets of clothes and personal items, a stove and lanterns, a clothesline, a cooler, two chairs.
I turned to Jerry, illuminating him with the light from my headlamp. He looked up from his book. “This is great!” I said.
“WHAT?” he yelled through the noise of the rain.
“I SAID ‘THIS IS GREAT!’”
“Yep, it sure is,” he smiled.
I know most of you probably roll your eyes or even get squeamish when I talk about my love of camping. But there is something very elemental about being close to nature and realizing, even if just for a few days, how easily we can get along without so much stuff. When we slough off all the things we don’t need, the things we really do need come more clearly into focus.
As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. From Psalm 42.
My soul is renewed by peace and quiet, by being in a place where the noise of torrential rain washes away any worries about my to-do list back home. My soul thrills at the small sounds our canoe makes pushing through the water, or the primordial squawk of a heron gliding in to roost at the end of the day. My soul rests on a cool night as I fall asleep just inches from the screen door of the tent, listening to the whippoorwills call to each other. My soul is renewed by feeling closer to God in the woods and on the water, and then I am ready to come home.
How will you quench your soul’s thirst?
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2010