A year ago I, along with my friend Jill, volunteered to take over the planning and organization of the Holt Family Campout that we have attended for the last sixteen years (not including 1998, when we had to cancel the day before the campout and for which my children will never forgive me). This campout hosts almost 100 adoptive families, is a week long and is packed full of activities, potlucks, socializing, friendship and fun. When I agreed to take over leadership, I knew that we were coming upon a busy year: our oldest daughter’s senior of high school, a foreign exchange student for the fall, the finalization of my mother-in-law’s estate, but I was excited and eager.
Since that time, one year ago, in addition to the expected “busyness”, we have also had major work-related stress, an additional foreign exchange student for the entire year (which was great!), two cancelled international trips, now combined into one on which we depart five days after this campout, my oldest daughter’s fourth knee surgery, my major foot surgery and then back problems – it hasn’t been a good year! In fact, this has pretty much been the worst year of my life!
Six weeks or so ago, when Jill and I spent three days working on the planning for this campout, I was in a foul mood – exhausted, stressed, in pain from my surgery and frustrated by the impossible desire to make everyone attending this campout happy with their site assignment, the schedule, etc. I had lost the joy of the campout. Jill tried to tell me that I would feel better about the campout once my body felt better and…she was right! My surgeried foot is healing, my other, plantar fasciatis, foot has been shot full of cortisone and feels better, my back issue has resolved and I am now sitting by my campfire with a hot cup of coffee early on the morning of the first “official” day of the campout (we came a day early in order to be set-up and ready when everyone arrives this afternoon).
Over the last few days, as the kids and I have prepared for the campout, the joy returned. I not only feel better physically, but also mentally. Instead of feeling frustrated about changes and requests generated by those attending the campout, I just said, “Thank you for letting me know.” Instead of dreading nine days of camping (two days longer than we normally stay), I am looking forward to the additional time to sit by the fire, read a book, even listen to the crows. The campout was inevitable, the international trip scheduled for five days afterwards is inevitable. I have embraced the inevitable and it feels so good!