when the camp family goes camping – intro & the crow’s song


Nothing draws a family together like doing dishes…except maybe every other activity known to man.

when the camp family goes camping


We survived. I wish I was being clever and melodramatic, but the best way I can summarize a family camping trip for 3 nights with 4 young kids is simply that. We survived.

It was still a good trip. There were some bumps on the road that I’ll share in the next few posts, but it cannot outweigh the moments of wonder and happiness each of us experienced during the trip. As we were driving back, I asked Jamie “In hindsight, would you have rather spent two days at a waterpark, or still have this camping trip?” Without hesitation, she still would go camping. And that’s one of the reasons I love her. (Many of you would probably take the waterpark once you hear some of the more trying moments of this trip.)

For me, the best part of going camping as a family was just to sit with the kids and listen to them. Everyday I hear them, but I realize I don’t always really listen to what they are saying and try to figure out where the words are coming from. There were several moments during the trip when the kids would say something and I would just smile to myself at the curiosity and innocence that they see the world with.

And the same was true for my time with God during the trip. It seemed as though I had this ongoing conversation with God during the entire trip with a friend I had not be in touch with for some time. A flood of insight kept hitting me day after day. These moments of reminded me that it is important that I let God inform my view of life and not to allow life to inform my view of God. If I start with Him, the rest makes much more sense and allows me the strength and endurance to be who He needs me to be.

I look forward to sharing a lot of the insights from this trip over the next few days. Some will be about God, some will be about family and some will probably just show how broken I can be at times. Through it all, I’m eager to share it and finally do some writing.

part 1: the crow’s song

One of the best parts of going camping is setting up camp. It is the initial moment when you get to build your house for the time you are roughing it. The decisions of where to put the tent, the picnic table, the kids toy tent and extra stuff are all integral to success. That’s why I let Jamie do it.

In reality I know that Jamie knows the flow of our family better than I can pretend to. She manages the day-to-day operations of our household better than I ever could. I just pray I can keep her laughing and sane enough to do it each day.

And so as she directs where things go, I go about setting the tent. We invested in what is probably the largest tent I have ever seen, but when you have a family of 6, things don’t get any smaller. In a park full of RVs, we seemed to fit in until people realized our tent didn’t have wheels or an air conditioner.

So as I was working with Jamie to put the poles through their respective sleeves and pretending to remember how this thing went together, I kept hearing the unmistakeable call of a crow. The obnoxious “caw” over and over again. When contrasted with the other birds in the area, it sticks out so painfully.

And when there is one of these large blackbirds, there are more. Soon a whole group of them is constantly piercing the relative quiet of the park with their noise. There are few things more ominous than these large groups sitting in a tree by your tent either. I suppose that is why a group of crows is affectionately called a “murder” of crows.

It was during this growing annoyance with the crow that I felt God remind me of the plank in my own eye though. As if to remind me, “There are plenty of times I hear nothing but cawing from you like that crow, but I love you all the same. Your song isn’t always pretty, but I still care. Day after day, in happiness and sadness, the crow sounds the same because it only has one song. I gave you a voice and heart to do so much more. Try to remember that with those you meet as well.”

As I paused to let it sink in, I gave a knowing sigh as I realized this was going to be a good couple of days for me. I need these reminders. I need to keep perspective so I remember I am more like a crow most days than some wonderful song bird. Even at my best, I can do better, serve more, be more generous, and love more people. I hope that even on my days of sounding like the crow, I caw out a song that pleases my God even if it isn’t easy to compose with one obnoxious note.


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