For the month of June (and some of July) I’ll be working as a cook at Laity Lodge Youth Camp. I’ll only get on the internet once or twice during that time, but when I do I’ll try and post something about life in the canyon. They aren’t really planned or profound, just whatever comes to mind.
I’ve actually been back from camp for over a week. So I guess this is more of a retrospective.
Good good-byes matter a lot to me. When the half-summer camp staff left, I was grateful that there was time for purposeful farewells scheduled. I didn’t feel the need to linger, but I wanted to have a clear and intentional parting with certain people who were leaving as I stayed. A time set apart. For words, smiles, hands, hugs, and even tears for some.
My own departure was more difficult for me.
A breakfast on the same porch by the river where I first had breakfast in this canyon nearly 10 months ago. A detour by the guys’ morning cookout – the first breakfast that I cooked this summer (migas, outdoors, on an iron skillet). A few notes dropped in mailboxes, a lent book returned. And finally, a poignant parting with the kitchen and all who work there. The paradox of love is that, when it is lavished on you, you feel lifted higher and higher, but humbled to be given such graces. I drove out of the canyon with windows down, stereo quiet, and singing. It seemed right.
I thank God for the grace of good-byes
For the poignancy of parting, the lingering love as of a just-kissed cheek,
When words fail to rise, when language cannot encapsulate,
That we should have the gifts of love-brimmed
hearts pressed to hearts
hands to hands
and lips to cheeks
So that our heavied souls yet rise still.
That reddened eyes miraculously surrender
Tears, joining the company of desert rocks and baptismal shells;
Water and words, signposts of love.
The blessing at departure couple themselves
With the hopes of greetings to come.
But within our papery selves is the
Spoken into, dwelling in, written upon;
A greater River than tears suggest,
Stirring us further with the knowing beyond knowledge
That we shall meet once more
On eternal shores.
(Fare well, farewell; God be with you, good-bye.)