Our family has had a deep tie to Camp Garner Creek in Dickson County (TN) since 1980. My dad was district superintendent for Tennessee Nazarenes and the campground was very much a part of our lives.
The cabin my folks had use of there was destroyed by a flood a few years ago but many wonderful memories were created, particularly in our sons’ younger years. It was a place full of emotions that remain to this day. In fact, my mom’s favorite pet, Chico, is was buried there the same day as our youngest son, Austin, was born.
Yesterday, though, I headed back down to the camp with Tom Adams (Sarah’s cousin) to deal with my in-laws’ (Homer and Bea Adams) house trailer that is soon to be removed.
It was a fairly old trailer when the Adamses bought it 20 or so years ago. It was never plush or up-to-date in terms of décor. It had a hard time being cool in summer and staying warm in winter and the TV reception was snowy at best.
But what that trailer did have was a capacity for deep sleep, country quiet, and acres full of memories.
Our sons are now grown and gone, but when I sent them a few photos of the trailer yesterday, all three responded almost immediately. They remembered!
Our memories are fickle friends. Sometimes our memories conjure up things we’d rather forget. They can be stealers of joy or reminders of what we wish we had done differently or people who hurt us deeply. Like Forrest Gump said to Jenny out in front of the house where her childhood was scarred by abuse, “I guess sometimes there just aren’t enough rocks.”
But our memories can really good, too!!
It’s been over 25 years since Sarah and I were privileged to share in a mission trip to Nassau, The Bahamas, with Nazarene Youth International. One day we had a little free time and went to the beach. The Atlantic Ocean is calm and warm in The Bahamas. We sat in the sun in shallow water and enjoyed a gentle “wave after wave” afternoon.
That’s kind of what yesterday turned into for me. I wasn’t on a tropical beach but that creek bank in the late afternoon sun warmed my heart and so did the memories I recalled.
Our sons fished, shot a bow and arrow, threw baseballs and footballs and frisbees, and rode bikes down there.
Sarah and I would occasionally slip away for a quick Friday night getaway that usually featured a big breakfast on Saturday morning. A couple of times we took dear friends along with us and we talked and laughed and cried and prayed there.
For my in-laws, it was their place to stay during campmeeting and senior adult retreats. And it was, in general, a place that reminded them of a lot of what their life had been about in terms of their place in the Church of the Nazarene and in the family of God.
Tom and I brought back a van full of items that the family wanted to retain: a few pieces of furniture, some paintings by my father’s mom, lots of books, a Scrabble game and official Scrabble Players Dictionary, a lamp, a bow (no arrows) and a fishing rod and tackle box.
We also left a lot of very usable items in the trailer such as linens, some kitchen utensils and small appliances. The camp will make use of the refrigerator and stove, but most of the rest of the items will be given to a local ministry group that helps folks in need.
Within the next few weeks the trailer itself will head out to some scrap metal place and will become part of some other project perhaps. But wherever it ends ups or whatever it becomes, there’ll be enough photos around to help keep our memories of the good times alive for years to come.
Things do change. Sometimes the passage of time conspires with the aging process and we have to find a way to move on. But this reality should never diminish the glory of the good times.
I think that’s one way God helps us win the battle of our minds.
We’re told that God forgives our sins and remembers them against us no more. But we’re human and often we remember hurt and pain way easier than all the good things we experience.
My main hope in writing this little bit of family history is this: I hope all the memories you’re clinging to are happy ones!
I pray your life is blessed in knowing that you have friends and family who love you. I pray that you also know that you are deeply loved by God!
And do something today that will be a good memory sometime in the future 🙂