Saturday, July 19, 2008

Vacation and Homesickness

Well, I've just returned from Brooksville, Maine where I've spent the last week at an amazing camp (Winneaugwamauk). Ever since the day I was born I've been going to this camp almost every summer but with school being year round the last three years I hadn't been to Reunion for awhile. It wasn't as big as the Reunions were when I grew up. There weren't many people my age there and there wasn't quite as much organization as there used to be. Things were different that's for sure but I have to say I had an absolutely amazing week. The culmination of several experiences resulted in one of the best Reunions I've been to.

First, I got to see people I hadn't seen in several years and get reacquainted with them. Some of them have children now. All of us had grown and matured since the last time I'd been there.

Second, I got to spend the entire week on the grounds. I slept in the motel. I studied in the motel (for the NAPLEX). I ate breakfast in the old dining hall. I spent evenings worshiping in the tabernacle and I sang in the choir. Little things that I didn't really think were all that big of a deal but they helped me refocus on life.

I also had the chance to go to an amazing Native American flute performance in neighboring Castine. If you ever have the chance to see Hawk Henries play you should definitely go! It was at a great museum in Castine, the Wilson Museum, which overlooks the water and you can watch the sailboats go by as you listen to Hawk play. He also told stories and so many reminded me of Section 163 in the Doctorine in Covenants that I wanted to share it with him but I myself was playing my own Native American flute that evening and didn't get much chance to chat with him after the show.

Another amazing opportunity I had this week was spending two mornings with Becky Savage, a member of the First Presidency of my church. She's the first woman president of the Community of Christ church that I belong to and I've never met a more down-to-earth person in my life. Well, maybe I have but I didn't expect someone in the First Presidency to be so open to letting me drag her around the coast of Maine! The first morning I spent with her, she asked that I walk her around the campgrounds and show her some of the sites. So I walked her out to the point where there's a great view of the lake and surrounding forest. I took her over to the well where my grandfather held up the head of his dying friend when the well they were digging collapsed. I told her some of the history of the campgrounds as I knew it and I showed her some of the natural beauty around the grounds. Then we sat down and I showed her my photo books from my trips to the Zuni Indian Reservation and Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I wanted so much to share more with her but my emotions were far too close to the surface this week and I was in no mood to cry through the whole story.

The following day I took Becky to Deer Isle. First stop, Pumpkin Island, a lighthouse just off the shore of Little Deer Isle just a couple hundred yards up the road from where The Man Without A Face was filmed. Then I drove over to my grandma's house and we stopped and chatted for a little while there. Then up to the blueberry field. How many people in my church can say they've gone blueberrying with the president? My mom and aunt were there and we showed Becky which blueberries were the best (the black ones!). After picking nearly 2/3 a quart of blueberries I offered Becky the choice to head back to the grounds or head down to Stonington, a pretty traditional fishing village. She picked Stonington and so off we went. I drove by all the C of Christ churches on the island, including the old one on the hill in Stonington (my favorite one). Then we went to a cute little gift shop right on the shore and I told her about Two Bush Island. (Okay, am I rambling yet?) So, I showed her a couple more places in Stonington and then we headed back to the grounds, stopping first for lunch at El El Frijoles (L.L. Beans in Spanish!), a little Mexican place on the mainland.

I had an amazing time with Becky! It didn't take much to see she is a very caring and gentle person, no wonder nursing was her chosen career! I hope very much that I'll have the opportunity to sit and talk with her again some day but the likelihood of that happening is pretty small being that my path doesn't very often cross the path of the First Presidency unless it's at World Conference when everyone is running in three directions at once it seems. Anyway, I very much appreciated Becky's gift of time, listening and friendship for the few hours I spent with her. She personifies the quote "Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend."

So, I drove home pretty much right after Reunion ended. As usual I cried at the end of the final service. WHY do they have to pick "Tell We Meet Again" as the final song? Gaw. That song will make me cry until the day I die! But as I got home the loneliness and homesickness feelings start. I miss the community we have while at Reunion. I miss the "family" that's always there. I miss the quiet and peace of the grounds. But mostly I miss feeling like I'm part of something. So now I'm home and feeling lost. My focus is gone and my thoughts are confused. I know going back to the campgrounds would bring some of the feelings of peace back but I also know that things in the real world will never be like they are at Reunion. I just can't figure out why they can't be.


Anonymous said...

Hi Stacie, I have recently discovered your blog and enjoy your insights and observations. It's a bit unnerving. :) I am Stacie, Community of Christ, a blogger, homesick and on vacation and just drove through South Dakota a few days ago. That's just the beginning. Forget 6 degrees of separation. I'm sure we have some friends in common. Stacie from Ohio

The Lombardo Logic said...

great blog....I was also a camper at Camp Winneaugwamauk in the mid 80's and I have met several of the other campers that went to same week that I went using - I just created a group within facebook called Camp Winneaugwamauk - it would be a good place to post photos and share your stories. I have not seen the camp site since 1988...has it changed.