Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Beyond Four Walls

It was technically only 4 walls, a box, a shell, a building.

But it was so much more.

It was home. It was dozens of talent shows, hundreds of friends, thousands of meals, millions of memories.

Those 4 walls were literally shelter from the storm. The winds would howl, thunder and lightning rage and we'd ring that big brass bell and run to our safe place. I remember huddling in the basement singing songs and laughing as a camper. Later as the counselor staging impromptu skits, leading the songs and comforting tears.

It was countless chapel sessions, raising my hands in worship with my brothers and sisters, sitting too close in the uncomfortable folding chairs sweating from our arms being pressed together in the summer heat.

Every Thanksgiving we gathered, all 60 of us starting with my great-grandparents to share a meal, a service and to give thanks together. We put together puzzles, played made up game shows, looked through Black Friday ads, ate Grandma's rolls, flew the turkey around the room, turned our tables to face one another, shared our triumphs and struggles from the year and always, always sang the Doxology and Great Is Your Faithfulness.

When a tornado threatened to strike during my high school graduation party it was where we took shelter, grabbing the ice cream bowls, pictures, gifts and running inside to beat the storm.

And after I said, "I Do," it was where we went to celebrate our life as newlyweds. Where 215 of our friends and family gathered together to toast us and wish us well. In those walls my Papa said a prayer for our marriage and I've never felt so very loved by so many people in my life.

On Monday I got a call from my dad at 9am. He was using "that voice," the one I've heard more times than I'd like this year. My dad is terrible at breaking bad news. He sounded burdened, choked up.

"Last night the roof of the Lodge collapsed."

It was totally unexpected and with no warning but this extreme Michigan winter and the weight of the snow proved to be just too much. The Lakeview Lodge is the dining hall at the camp where my parents and sister currently work and I lived at from age 2 till I went to college. It's the place my great-grandfather helped to found and my parents met. It's home.

It's just a building yet that day I cried and mourned as I would the loss of a friend.

Yet, God is still in this. At 6pm there were 150 people in the building and 0 when the roof fell. Insurance will help. Hundreds of supporters of the camp have rallied around them and my parents as they lead through this difficult time. They are my family. People are hearing of this little camp who may not otherwise.

It feels dumb writing a blog post to a building but it's so much more than a building. This will be a story that we get to tell of God's faithfulness. We have seen him work through this building and we know He will do it again. We will continue to sing Great Is Thy Faithfulness. We'll make new memories.

So what I'm learning right now is that when the roof crumbles, the foundation cracks and what you've always known to be steady is no more, He is there.

As the director of the camp, my Dad gets to deal with the brunt of the collapse. As he said to me, "Now is when we get to practice what we preach. When we get to show people that we truly believe and trust."

And as he's told me many a time, "To God be the glory, great things He has done."

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  1. Gosh, Abby! This was such a beautiful and sentimental post! I loved it.
    Excited for the new memories (in the new space) as we cherish the old. <3
    This also means that we get to tell our kids "Well, back in my day, in Lakeview Lodge...."
    We are officially old-timers, right?

  2. Perfectly put, Abby. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Ah, man. Abigail, that was perfect. I've been mourning the loss of the lodge, and haven't been able to put it into words. Thanks for doing it so well. And I agree with Jen--we get to be old-timers now!

  4. Abby, this is a wonderful story of you, your family and your camp family!
    God is always good and we can watch how He will use this happening to bring others to Him!

  5. Margaret MacArthurMarch 1, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    Abby great memory discussion of the lodge. I too was crying the day I found out the many memories that we have of the lodge the many skids I participated in the time Gary and I worked on the basement when the lodge was being built. The many memories Tammi and Mitzi have of Bair Lake and continue to have. Now my grandchildren also can enjoy those many memories they have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy. Praise God for Bair Lake and the people who have helped to make it what it was and will be again.