I’ve never been a fan of camping. I decided to give it a try a few years ago and sure enough it rained—non-stop—and everything inside the tent got wet. There were plenty of other challenges too—from pitching the tent to cooking by torchlight. Then there were the spiders, leeches and other creepy crawlies lurking nearby. Not to mention the toilets—or in this case the lack of them!
So it was with some trepidation that I agreed to go on a Pathfinder camping trip recently. I guess I felt somewhat obliged to go as I have two children in Pathfinders—one has only joined this year and it was her first camp.
. . . no calls, no Facebook, no Twitter. It was quite a refreshing change. Indeed very peaceful.
We set off for the campground late Friday afternoon so by the time we arrived it was dark. As I expected, pitching the tent at night was a rather laborious exercise but by the second attempt my son and I had achieved success, albeit a somewhat distorted shape to what it was supposed to look like. Cooking the vegie sausages went smoothly enough although I had to hold a torch in my mouth to see what I was doing. But a visit to the toilets confirmed my fears that this was going to be a rough weekend!
One thing I hadn’t anticipated was that there would be no mobile phone coverage at the campground. No phone—how would I survive? I was totally isolated from the outside world. Funnily enough, though, I didn’t miss it: no calls, no Facebook, no Twitter. It was quite a refreshing change. Indeed very peaceful.
Peace was the theme of the camp and it is something I rarely get to enjoy. Juggling three children, two jobs, Sabbath School commitments, household chores and other activities leaves me little time to put my feet up. But here I was sitting round a campfire, relaxing and chatting to people while also being spiritually blessed.
“I’ve Got Peace Like A River” was one of my favourite campfire songs. Peace, it seems, is much easier to find when you are out in the middle of nowhere: sitting by the river in the early morning; watching an eagle soar overhead; participating in Sabbath worship on a bush plateau; listening to the wind whistle through the trees; gazing at the myriad of stars.
But can we only find peace when we go off the beaten track? What happens when we return to our busy lives? That sense of tranquillity can soon disappear once you get caught up in peak hour traffic or feel under pressure to meet a work deadline. The only solution I have found is to put my life in the hands of the Prince of peace. John 16:33 says: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
While I’ll never truly embrace camping, this experience has shown me that sometimes we need to step outside our comfort zone to discover more about ourselves, the beautiful world we live in and our God. And no matter where we are and what we are doing we can always rely on Jesus as our ultimate Source of peace.
Tracey Bridcutt is copyeditor for RECORD.