This week we begin the third part of our series for 2019 on values that we feel people are hungry for in their lives. We believe that Camp and Retreat Ministries is well positioned to provide opportunities to experience these values. After having explored wonder and hope, we turn next to joy.
When was the last time you were filled with joy? Is there something in your life that consistently brings you joy? When did you see that same kind of joy in another person? How can you facilitate these opportunities for others to experience joy? Would the knowledge that others are experiencing joy because of something you did, bring you joy?
For me, joy is a gift that is available to us each day. I believe that, for most of us, the experience of joy is a matter of choice. While I am aware that joy can come from a spontaneous surprise in our lives, the choice remains as to whether or not we will accept these gifts, even on days that seem joyless.
In my life, the experience of joy is most evident when at least one of the following conditions are met: Firstly, being in the present moment; this could be on a walk in the woods or along the coast or a stream. A time where I forget the looming deadlines or the matters from the past that hang like rain clouds over my heart, mind and soul. The second is when others benefit from what I have to offer. This could be when I am engaged in the work of an organization that does good in this world (participating in our program events at our sites, working with another non-profit board where I am a member, supporting another non-profit with a gift of time or money, helping a neighbor with a project, etc.) The third is being a part of a group that is working together. I think of singing in a choir, playing in a band, a drama performance, the Act of Returning at annual conference in 2018, or being together with family. The fourth component that brings me joy is that of finally experiencing the fulfillment of a goal or completing a project. It might be mastering a cooking technique or capturing, in a photograph, something that I saw ahead of time. One day, I hope this will include rolling my kayak upright!
If you agree that these are some of the ways in which we feel joy, Camp and Retreat Ministries is perfectly situated to create a space that provides campers and volunteers many opportunities to have these experiences. There are so many occasions to be present with the rolling of the waves, the blowing of the wind, the beauty of creation and the activities of a normal camp day. There are countless opportunities to share and support others in what they are trying to do through encouragement, assistance or a comforting presence. There are moments to work together for the benefit of the entire community. This might be cooking a meal, facing an obstacle on the challenge course or planning worship. And of course, there are opportunities to grow in one’s ability. This could be on the archery range, swimming area, using a boat, hiking or sleeping under the stars.
All of this is possible due to the wonder of God’s creation, the commitment of the church, and people like you, who support campers and guests who come expecting to encounter wonder and to experience the joy of being alive. I hope that you find joy today and every day by remembering that you are a part of Camp and Retreat Ministries that is committed to helping campers and guests experience joy every day.
See you around the campfire soon,