A Day to Putter
Today (Monday, July 19, 2021) I did what I love to do. I started out with a quiet time on the porch with a big french press of bold, black coffee ground from beans I picked up in Oregon early in July. It was a glorious day and after I finished the luxury of my quiet time and coffee on the porch I started chewing through my “list.” Laundry. Mow. Trim. Wash the cars. Detail them. Blow off the drive. Weed. Organize the carriage house. Clean up the mess I made when I ran over Lois’ pot of annuals last night. Repot the plants. Tidy and putter. A little reading. A little writing. It was just delightful after being so long on the road. it been a good day.
I take great satisfaction in getting old Bittersweet looking like a park and having my cars neat and clean. Now I want to tell you a sweet story of a time last week when God “showed up” in a sweet way at a perfect time.
A Boy With Special Needs
I was speaking at a camp in northern Michigan last week. During the counselor circle they mentioned that one of the campers should probably have been in a special needs camp, but his mother wanted him to be with his age-mates. They would do what they can to include him and love him and help him have a good experience.
He did well. The other campers were good to him and tried to include him. The counselors were thoughtful and sensitive to him. I don’t know if he really followed my chapel talks. He watched me close but he was hard to read.
Later in the week I noticed that he would sometimes hum camp songs while I was preaching. All the campers heard him and smiled, they didn’t mind. I just kept going. I got used to it after a bit. One evening he sang quietly under his breath during the whole message. I suppose a young man singing is like a dog wagging his tail. I took it as a sign that he was at home and relaxed.
Usually during worship he would stand off to himself and just watch the others. Later in the week you could see that he began to sing some of the words, move with the music, and make some motions like the other campers. Still, mostly, he was off to himself.
The last session was a daytime session and it was difficult for me to get my heart and emotions prepared for the important last message. There had been some distractions and the campers had a lot on their minds. During the singing the first few songs were rowdy and boisterous and loud–almost playful but not reflective or meaningful. They were just fun and active.
The last song or two were slower and more meaningful. Late in the week the campers began to get comfortable with one another. On the last song I was praying and trying to get my heart ready for the last talk. The campers all joined together in long lines and put their arms across each other’s shoulders and began to sway back and forth.
The special needs camper was off to himself. I bowed my head in prayer asking God for help to preach with a warm heart–with unction. When I looked up God “showed up.” One of the young men, a popular athlete standing in the back row reached out to the “special needs” boy and motioned for him to come over and join the line.
The young man smiled and joined the line and finished the song with his arm across the back of the boy beside him, the boy beside him had his arm across his back. Together they sang, both of them just threw back their heads and sang.
And I was ready to preach. I am of the conviction that God often shows up at camp. I’ve seen him there, over and over again since I was just a boy.
Bittersweet Farm | July 20, 2021