from such great heights

lifelines

Posted in life by chapwoman on June 17, 2008

estes park, colorado.

i’m here on summer project(!) for campus crusade for christ and it’s nothing short of amazing.  17 other students from all over the country are here with me, along with 15 staff members and we’re on the first project ever in the rocky mountains.  the term “summer project” is kinda vague, I know.  but generally, summer projects are mission trips that crusade organizes for students to attend all over the world.  so when I looked at the list of potential US projects, “rocky mountain lifelines” just jumped out at me. summer in the wilderness definitely seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime.

so after applying, getting accepted, and raising $2350, here I am in beautiful estes park.

I’m actually a few miles south of the small, touristy town and at an elevation of 9000 feet, literally “in” the mountains.  the view from my cabin is of two lofty peaks that look like something you’d see in a Thomas Kinkade painting, completely covered in an evergreen fabric.  in the other direction sits an even more lofty mountain with a shear vertical face known as “Long’s Peak.”  Which is also the name of the complex I’m staying at.  the sky is an intensely deep blue, the color green goes on for miles, and the mountains I’m looking at right now from my table are still covered in white snow.  what’s even cooler is that elk and moose like to graze right outside our complex, and gophers scurry across the pastures nonstop.  we’ve even made friends with a coyote that likes to do perimeters around our main lodge. I named him “Wiley.”

as far as activities go, i’m super stoked.  the focus of lifelines is learning how to bond, so to do that much of our time is spent outdoors.  Just being here, secluded from the public is a way to bond.  we’ve done some hikes already, but I’m really looking forward to the 3-day backpacking trip that starts tomorrow morning.  It’s serious ROUGHING it with tents, sleeping bags, and no toilets.  PRAY for me, haha.  I’m excited to go backpacking, just to say I did it.  and also to establish the connection with nature that I’ve always wanted but never got from suburban southern california.  Over the course of the next month, I’ll be immersed in this REI culture of rock-climbing, hiking, camping, and literally mountain-biking.  Gonna be SICK.

as far as group dynamics go, we mesh.  we’re all different because we’re from places like kentucky, texas, utah, california, and virginia, but we all have one thing in common: we love God.  There’s 6 guys and 12 girls, which makes it cool when we have discussions because it allows all of us to talk.  I didn’t really understand what the point of this project was when I signed up, but bonding is definitely the focus.  I’ve already felt tears fall down my cheeks 3 times, and that was just the first day.  some people have already opened up about their innermost feelings, which their best friends and family members don’t even  know about, so the conversations have been hard.  they’ve been intense.

i feel like God led me here for a reason: to be real for the first time in my life. it makes me nervous knowing that people I just met yesterday will know insecurities about me that my parents don’t even know, that my closest friends don’t even know.  but I figure, if I can open up to complete strangers who don’t know my story, then I can take my covered issues back home and share them with my friends.  That’s when real bonding occurs, when I finally expose the depths of my soul.  when I’m finally broken, when I finally let out all my hidden emotions, I will explain more.  so pray for me, pray that I have the courage to do that, that I have the courage to be truly vulnerable for the first time ever.

that’s my summer project so far.  food’s better than in the dorm (thank you Jesus), beds are more comfortable than in the dorm (thank you again, Jesus), and the staff are incredibly hospitable.  I’m trusting that God’s gonna make these 28 days the most important 28 days of my personal growth.

c’est la vie,
Chappie

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