Friday, April 26, 2019

Road tripping to Joshua Tree - Part 3

Spiritual recalibration is the process of carefully assessing your life and adjusting what is most important. Camping has a way of providing an environment where spiritual recalibration is possible. Camping removes the complexities of life leaving you with a bare bones daily schedule which feels simpler and unburdened. When you strip away all the things you think you need...all you're left with are the things you can't simply remove -- your tiredness, your anger, your shame, your passions, your joys, your hopes, your inner thoughts, your feelings, your ideas, your faith. When you create a simple environment, you can see these things more clearly. 

When we create a simple environment for ourselves and our kids...we can see things in ourselves and each other that otherwise would have gone unnoticed due to spiritual glaucoma.

In the mornings we typically wake up when the sun peeks over the mountains and do a devotional. 

Some mornings the kids would join us. 

Coffee is always part of the equation. We bring a French Press with us because there's no reason to drink bad coffee when you're camping! That's an unforgivable sin.

One of the things we love to do on vacation is go hiking. Our kids are amazing on the trails. On this day we went up Ryan Mountain which our guidebook listed as "strenuous." This was anything but strenuous for these kids. While Joel stayed on our back....Elizabeth (9), Josiah (7), and Noah (5) for 3 miles went up/down 1,056ft in elevation in 1 hr 14 min. This trip was Noah's "inauguration" into the world of hiking without the promise that we would put him on our backs at some point. Armed with his own hiking backpack and water, he led the entire time.

After summiting they even trail ran down the mountain! 

In the afternoons we tend to find nature walks to saunter along. The famous early 20th century naturalist and writer John Muir wrote, “I don't like either the word [hike] or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains - not 'hike!' Do you know the origin of that word saunter? It's a beautiful word. Away back in the middle ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going they would reply, 'A la sainte terre', 'To the Holy Land.' And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not 'hike' through them.”

When we walk slowly through the mountains we always ask the kids the same question, "What's something you see that reminds you of God?" It's amazing the kinds of lessons God teaches through his creation when you walk slow enough to pay attention.

By the evening it's time for dinner. We camp nearly 30 nights every year so we have DIALED meal plans for camping. Our meals have to meet three criteria: They have to be simple to create, be healthy, be easy to clean-up. If you need our 7 day us and we'll send it to you!

We have noticed that the more the sun sets, the more introspective we become. After putting the kids in their tent, we will sit by the fire for hours sometimes in complete silence watching the flicker of the light against a dark night sky. Introspection is the necessary prerequisite for spiritual recalibration. There is no such thing as spiritual progress without self awareness. 

The mountains have a way of creating the perfect conditions where spiritual recalibration is possible. It's the primary reason they are a regular part of our family rhythm. We learn something new about ourselves and one another every time we go into the mountains. It's why we can say with confidence...

These are good days. 

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