The last time the five of us were together was almost 500 days ago, at the end of an exciting and deeply bonding summer in Missouri. We meet again today. We gather to reminisce, reconnect, and share a new adventure — wandering the remotest parts of the Ozark Mountains.
The Far Reaches of Nowhere
Four days together in unpopulated wilderness will be too short, no doubt, but we will make the most of it. What will we be doing there? Backpacking. Without a trail. Like some of us did in Big Bend, but with more trees and steeper terrain. That terrain includes lots of creeks and waterfalls to explore – an exciting and welcome change from our past experience with the desert.
I love getting out in the wilderness and definitely am feeling the call to get out of Los Angeles for a little bit. I look forward to the stories we’ll live/create!
Reunion with the Elements
More exciting than the place we’re going and the excellent activities we have planned, I’m looking forward to reconnecting with the Elements. Not the elements you may be thinking of: I mean the people. At Ozark Mountain Encounter where we became good friends we were given and adopted nicknames of the elements — pseudo-elements really: fire, water, wind, the boulder, and the stars. These originated and (more importantly) stuck because they depict how our diversity of personalities and temperaments create a greater and richer whole than any one of us. We are one of the greatest groups of friends not primarily because of our mutual love for one another or our confidence in each other or our shared experiences — though we have plenty of each of these! Rather, we collectively bring out the best in each other: what we together did at OME’14, none of us could have come close to on our own. [want to see all OME14 related posts?]
A Beautiful Picture
In the group of us I see a microcosm of how the New Testament describes what the community of Jesus-followers should be: we are united by knowing Jesus, having His Spirit, and having this truth as the central and driving fact of our lives. We therefore have a lot of common purpose, and at OME we had a common task as team leaders. But we are also very different. We span the range of personalities from empassioned to chill, including extroverts and introverts as well as decision-oriented and action-oriented individuals. We also have different strengths and weaknesses: connectors and discerners, grace-oriented and truth-oriented.
And without our planning it, God put us in the same role so we could enjoy becoming friends, effectively love and coach others, lead by example in both vulnerability and in action — and so we could see and display God’s wisdom in the way He made us individually to be part of a community.
And though we’ve gathered 3 or 4 of us before, we are now finally getting all the Elements back together again. I’m looking forward to it!