We went camping one weekend this spring. This was not the “tent deep in the woods with no electricity or running water” type of camping, but the kind where you stay inside a really nice camper with plumbing, a TV and a soft, warm, dry bed to sleep in. I like both types of camping, but I definitely think scenario 2 is preferred when there are toddlers involved!
Another important point to clarify – we were camping with both of our families. We are blessed with what I think is an uncommon scenario… My parents and my husband’s parents actually get along – they get along really well. We travel together, get together for meals, go camping together multiple times each summer. They sometimes will even get together without us! My kids aren’t old enough to fully appreciate how lucky they are to have this kind of extended family. Some day they will understand.
So we were camping, with my family, my in-laws and some friends. When we sit around the campfire, we love to talk and tell stories and laugh together. We play one game where you get to ask a question and everyone will answer. These can be deep and personal (like where did you see God’s love today) or not so personal (like what is your favorite ice cream). My 5-year-old son asked: “In what place do you most like to be?”
This was tricky for me – you can think of countries you’d like to visit, vacation destinations you’ve enjoyed, or “bucket list” locations all over the world. But this question is different. In what place in this massive rock we call earth do I most want to be?
My father-in-law responded perfectly. He doesn’t necessarily care what the place is, as long as he is there with the people he loves the most.
I had the opportunity to go to Boston last fall for a work seminar. I had never been to Boston, so I planned a little extra time for sightseeing. There is so much history I had to take some time to be a tourist! I enjoyed it, and I’m glad I went – my tourist time was interesting and fun. But it could have been so much better if I could have experienced it with my family.
We have been blessed with so many things. My family has an abundance of earthly possessions – a home, food and water, more wants than I could mention. We are blessed with spiritual blessings – the benefits of knowing God, salvation, the gifts of the Spirit, power to do God’s will, the hope of living forever with Christ.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3
But what my father-in-law’s response highlights is just how important this blessing of family can be. Certainly strong relationship, and time spent with people we love the most, help us to appreciate our earthly blessings. And we share with our family the joy and celebration that comes from our spiritual blessings.
If you gave me a choice – a trip by myself to an exotic location or conversation and laughter with my family or close friends around a campfire – I’d choose the campfire.
And if this place where I can be with the people I love the most is sometimes in a beautiful mountainside lodge, a historical city, or a beautiful beach-front resort, I won’t complain…