Monday, May 31, 2004
Memorial Day Joshua Tree Synopsis
Ah, so much. Joshua Tree was a blast. Of hot air that is. I mean, it was ... really hot. It was a lot of fun too. We also ended up talking about some really deep stuff. Like, really deep. Here are the (same) pictures on Ofoto.
I left San Diego on Saturday around 11:30am. It was nice to be able to play ultimate that morning for a bit. With a bit of fussing around we were on the road around 3pm after picking up Abram, convincing Caroline to go and waiting for Kristin to show up. Along the way Ben and I were mostly talking about studying out other religions. He's been studying up on Hinduism a bit, which I thought was very interesting. I am excited to get more well-versed in other religions, and not just from the "Christian" perspective. What I mean is, I've taken a cursory look at other religions before, but always with a critical eye because I was coming from a strong Christian bias. I think I really ought to give them a bit more thorough treatment, and get a chance to hear it from supportive sources rather than just critical ones.
We arrived around 7:30pm and set up camp. Everyone was really helpful so we got dinner and a fire going really quickly. Afterwards we sang songs late into the night. I felt kind of bad because the campsite was nice and cozy with respect to other campers. We must have been about 20 feet away from the next tent. They didn't seem to mind though.
On Sunday the sun came up around 6:30am. Insanity. I'm not much of a morning person, but it was much worse considering the sun turned our tent into a greenhouse instantaneously. Plus we were being kind of loud and I was feeling it for our neighbors. Anyway it worked out fine; we had breakfast and then tried to escape the sun for a while. Ben tried to setup a little lean-to with his hammock but it just wasn't cutting it. Kristin fell asleep in her tent -- it was so hot though I was honestly afraid for her health. So we decided to head into town to escape. We went ghetto and brought our picnic lunch into McDonald's, which was a lot of fun. Then we went to Starbucks to "study". Turns out they had Cranium there, which I thought was very cool. It was Caroline and me against Ben and Abram. I won't mention who won. But I did think it was interesting that Ben mentioned he hadn't lost a game in a looong time. Actually, it was about the closest game I've ever seen.
By this time we decided to head out to the actual Joshua Tree park. After some aimless driving around and finding the slowest entrance booth in creation, we made it to a nice one-mile hike. We saw rocks. And cacti. And dirt. And lizards. And one rabbit. Neat. After that we went to a place called Jumbo Rock. Ben and I managed to climb this pretty steep one. It was quite an accomplishment. Ben almost gave into fear but he battled it valiantly and overcame. That was very satisfying. On the way down we helped Caroline down because she was feeling a bit spooked too. Almost like one of those team-building exercise things. Fun.
After all that we went to another place called Key View where we had a little communion service while the sun set. It was pretty much picture perfect, except the wind was really chilly. Abram shared his thoughts from Matthew 26:69-27:5, comparing and contrasting Peter and Judas. We sang a song, prayed, and passed some bread and juice. It was very cool.
We headed home and started up a late dinner -- around 9pm. After dinner we had quite a discussion on the topic that I have been thinking about for a while -- the idea of being "chosen" or "special" from God's perspective. It was a little difficult getting through sometimes, mostly because I'm still forming a lot of what I'm feeling. The main idea is this: What does it mean to be chosen by God? And how does that relate to the concept that God loves all people equally? I think I'll dedicate another post to this exclusively, actually. Anyway, as far as the conversation went, I ended up getting a little frustrated with Abram because I felt like he was just trying to "fix" me. He backed off after I said something, but I felt bad because the whole mood after that felt a bit more somber. Anyway, this morning Abram apologized to me for not listening, which appreciated a lot.
One thing Caroline asked me was, what prompts you to think about this? And, it was a good question. And I think I just answered off the top of my head, kind of before I really thought about it. But as it was coming out I think it started to sink in.
For most of my Christian walk I have devoted myself to people in such a way that I tried very hard to treat everyone equally. In a sense I denied feeling closer to anyone over another, because in my mind that was playing favorites, and in my understanding, God didn't play favorites, so I shouldn't either.
More recently though, I've realized that it is unrealistically idealistic to feel obligated to "love" everyone equally -- that is, to devote the exact same amount of time, heart, energy, etc. to anyone that God puts in my path. And maybe some of the consequences of my way of thinking is that I never really have developed those really close friendships. Or, at least I haven't really allowed myself to invest more into people that I feel naturally closer to, especially because most of them are far away or married or both. Anyway, so I've changed my way of thinking a bit. But then, what does that mean about God's view of us? Are there people that he feels more close to than others?
The difficult part comes when I realize that, I don't have someone that cherishes me above all others, and who I feel the same way towards. It is a very special manifestation of God's love. We are supposed to say, "God is enough;" in other words, the right answer is to meet this need to feel "special" to someone with God. But the honest truth is, I have a hard time feeling that God thinks that I am "special" in that same way. Imagine someone lamenting, "No one loves me" and someone else responding, "Oh come on, your mother loves you!" Not quite the point.
Anyway, thanks Caroline, for asking. I think it was a good step in the right direction. Unfortunately the mood seemed kind of subdued afterwards. I didn't mean to bring everyone down. After that I was pretty much drained and zonked out pretty quick.
Whew. I made it home today around 4pm and I must say I was pooped. A lot of it was physical, but maybe a bit emotional too. It was quite a lot to chew on. Anyway, good times, stuff, dude, this guy, straight carrots, Ben-cakes, super-sized, grounds-where-kids-play, lizards-that-lounge -- you name it, we had it. A great Memorial Day weekend.