It is good to be back even if no one knew you were gone and even if you enjoyed where you went. Back is a wonderful place and suggests that there is somewhere we belong.
So I am back which suggests the question of where I have been. The answer is: CAMP.
I was at camp with Junior High students for the first part of last week and Elementary aged kids for the second. I was focused, absorbed, and squeezed dry of all my energy. it was a great week!
The key words for today are Focus, Camp, and Back.
Focus is what we give to what we are doing while we are doing it if we want to make the most of the experience and bring something back after it is over. Focus is the energy to stare down the moment and milk it for all it is worth. Focus is what enables us to engage ourselves and others in the importance of the present. It does not preclude multi-tasking and other wonderful ADHD hunter gifts, but it is a necessity for the success of any assignment.
Last week, my assignment was kids. Everything else took a back seat. Here is my acronym stew of the moment for focus:
Find Our Current Usefulness Satisfying.
Filter Out Conflicting Urgencies Sincerely.
Float Over Crud. Unleash Significance.
Fail Often. Collect Understanding. Soar!
Or we might say:
F is for the Filter that tell us what must be done now and what can wait.
O is for Opportunities that can be lost if we let ourselves be distracted from our primary goals.
C is for Concentration which is necessary in one degree or another if we are to accomplish our tasks. It is a concentration of energy and attention on where we are and what we are doing.
U is for Understanding the moment and embracing it with our strength, enthusiasm, and passion.
S is for significance. It is knowing and believing in the importance of our current assignment and throwing ourselves into it.
That is focus.
The second word is Camp. The idea of a camp reminds me of a temporary dwelling. Camping is not forever. For that reason, we can suspend normal activities and accept inconvenience. Camp is a short experience that can have long lasting benefits and can create deep and abiding, nurturing memories.
Our camp focus was the needs of the children and their opportunities for a giant leap of development in a few short days. it can happen quickly, but it requires that some adults sacrifice their living conditions, habits, lifestyle, and goals for a short time.
C for Children -Children come first at our camp. Even if you are having a camp-type experience for adults, it is the emerging child in you and them that you are seeking to develop with a new leap of progress.
A for Anyone - Anyone can go to camp and should. what is your "camp?" You might be able to even do it at home, but you need breaks from the routine for the sake of what can be accomplished through such concentrated refocus.
M for Meetings - When you go to camp you need to attend the meetings, meet new people or some new part of yourself. An essential for a good camp is gathering over a cup of coffee with new and old friends early in the morning and sorting out the problems of the world.
P for Pavilion - You will be sheltering yourself in conditions that may not be as comfortable as home because you are not at home. The Bible says that we are pilgrims tenting on earth, that our home is beyond this world and this life. It is good to get away from our luxuries occasionally to refocus.
The last word is BACK - It means that we have a place that is normal for us, where we belong, where we spend most of our time, and where we have a certain pace, lots of challenges, and countless opportunities. It is home.
B for Bed - My Bed is the most comfortable place in the world. I rest better in my own bed than anywhere on earth. Thanks to God for my bed, my home, my family, and my life.
A for Activity - It is my normal activity even though it changes. I make my calendar, schedule my priorities and act toward my goals.
C for Contentment - I am happy to be home. I am actually content as a learned function according to the Apostle Paul, anywhere. But I am most content where I spend most of my time. In these days, we can take many of the comforts of home anywhere we go. it was not lack of Internet access which curtailed my Internet activity in the mountains; it was lack of time. I am not an extremely routine person, but I do value the routines I have such as making my breakfast, studying in the mornings, writing my bulletins, and enjoying the familiar things in my life.
K for Keenness - Hopefully I have returned home sharper in some ways. I did not go to camp for myself, but I cannot help but benefit from it - even as I reflect upon it.