Pastor Briefing: Time in Red River Gorge
It has become an annual event for me to take some time off during the last full week of May leading up to Memorial Day weekend for a little rest and renewal. Over the last couple of years, my family and I have trekked down to the beautiful Red River Gorge, Kentucky for camping and hiking.
This year we camped at the Koomer Ridge Campground, which is part of the Daniel Boone National Forest. The campground was close to empty when we arrived which allowed us to choose a spacious, secluded site. We have a large enough tent that we can accommodate six people comfortably. A couple of new additions for us were two new hammocks for people to lounge or sleep in and a 10x10 canopy that covered our picnic table providing additional protection from the rain (and yes it rained on two of the days).
This year, some of my favorite activities included: our daily hikes, outdoor meals, conversations around the campfire, family devotions from Romans 8, “Oh Shoot” card games, sitting under the canopy in the rain, celebrating my birthday, pizza at Miquels, jumping off a forty-foot cliff into the Red River (but only after watching others go first), instant coffee in the morning (lots of milk), attempting to brew coffee with a filter through an aluminum coke can, cooking over the fire, staring up at the evening stars, and watching X-Files on my phone with kids, in the dark of night. The days were just packed.
While camping this last May, I was reminded of another truth, at least for me. And that is there is something about the sublime beauty of nature, of tall trees, deep ravines, flowing streams of water, and birds singing that revitalizes my soul and spirit. Even though, not being used to the demands of hiking and sleeping in a tent, I felt physically beat up, spiritually, there was something personally revitalizing about the beauty of God’s creation.
For us, camping was an opportunity to unplug from the daily demands and most electronic devices (phone coverage was spotty to non-existent). In unplugging, there was space created for thinking and pondering and drawing closer to the Lord.
It is not necessary to go on a camping expedition to enjoy God’s creation. It strikes me that the summer months afford all of us opportunities to do life a little differently—to unplug, to take walks, and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.