"High on a mountain top
we live for love
and we laugh a lot..
I ain't coming down
no, never, I'm not..."
- Loretta Lynn
Can I just tell you how beautiful it is here, "High on a Mountaintop?" I was out of bed by 5:30 this morning, and at the pool for the first group of campers taking swim tests by 6. Forty-six degrees, sweatshirt, a mug of Ginger Lemon Grass tea (thanks Stacey), and a sunrise that would take, even a cynic's breath away!
Standing by the edge of the pool I couldn't help but see the spiritual juxta-positioning of water and stone. The clear, unclouded, sky-reflecting cerulean water in the pool, and the snow-capped peaks of Mount Harvard rising just in front of us.
One to buoy, the other to give foothold.
The balanced elements of strength and flexibility, found in one frame of spiritual focus. One "yields to the touch of a finger," while the other rises from bedrock, to give shadow and shelter.
In this environment, ripe with metaphor and miracle, our staff and campers are awash in lessons eternal. It is a divine classroom for spiritual transformation and, to some degree, transfiguration. I love the word "transfiguration." For years my only frame of reference for this word was Jesus' transfiguration on the mount, in the presence of his disciples. It seemed so otherworldly, that I shelved it as a concept akin to ascension (another word I've grown to love) and something to be wrestled with much further along in my spiritual journey..
But Webster defines transfiguration as:
"a complete change of form or appearance
into a more spiritual or beautiful state"
Well heck, this is what happens at camp...every single day. Campers and counselors return each afternoon from the mount of transfiguration, the river of transfiguration, the rocks of transfiguration, the pasture of transfiguration, more fully aware of their spiritual strength, more beautifully kind, peaceful, grounded in God's love. And these shifts in perception are not fleeting or illusory...they are eternally real.
The girl who discovers that it is her kind heart that others find truly beautiful, can no longer be distracted from that reality by the illusion that beauty is found in a make-up kit or a curling iron.
The boy who has discovered that real strength lies in the compassion he showed to a fellow, more novice, mountaineer...going slower, pausing for a rest, offering words of spiritual encouragement...can no longer be dissuaded by the ego's invitation to prove his strength by "getting there first" at the expense of others.
The practitioner who discovers that the real "work" is found in listening deeply to others, rather than being listened to, is experiencing untold joy with each new opportunity for silent attendance at the foot of the Christ others. She is finding her way down from that mount of transfiguration into the most lovely valley of humility...where the river of His pleasure...bringing healing and renewal...is as pure and natural as its headwaters, flowing from "the Eternal source alone."
Transfiguration is a moment-by-moment occurrence here at camp. Each morning campers and staff:
"go out with joy, and [are] led forth with peace:
the mountains and the hills
break forth before [them] into singing,
and all the trees of the field
clap their hands."
And each evening, they return having been transformed by "a more spiritual or beautiful state" of thought. It is an natural as water and stone, mountains and rivers, sun and air...Life, Truth, and Love.
And the cool part is, what happens at camp, doesn't stay at camp...it goes home. Our staff and campers (and me!) take our transfigured view of things...of ourselves, of others, and of the world around us, back into our schools, neighborhoods, and places of business and worship.
We have each been called to this place, high on a mountain top, for a holy purpose. We said, "Here am I, send me..." and this is where He sent us...wow!!
more later from the porch of Crowsnest....
Kate Robertson, CS