Oh my, but I loved our first family glamping trip to Lake Jocassee. The views, the quiet, the clear water – I felt like I could not look at any one earthly, God-created thing long enough to give it the attention its inherent significance and beauty deserved.
We glamped at the South Carolina State Park on Lake Jocassee in March while the water levels were still low. If you aren’t familiar, most of the lakes in the Carolinas are man-made, and many are partially drained in the winter. My parents who are from Minnesota, land of 10,000 natural lakes, were quite surprised and perplexed by how the lakes became ponds during their first winter in the Carolinas. I’d never paid too much attention. However, this spring at Lake Jocassee in the solitude of empty coves, I was completely stunned by beauty as we explored.
The movement of the waves, of the rock formations, of the changing water levels, leaves the most beautiful lines and swirls and shelves. I’ve never seen anything like it. Or maybe I’ve just never slowed down enough to really appreciate the beauty of what is created under the surface.
Our children skipped rocks, ran up and down the shore, and through the woods while I stared into the beauty. Well, I also had a book. (Let’s be honest, I always have a book. In fact while looking through my suitcase I call a “purse” just this evening, I fished out one Stephen King novel, one how-to book, one self-help book, a planner and a blank notebook!) I was reading The Alchemist by Paul Coelho, and it was the perfect time for reflecting in the quiet coves.
And lest you think it was all beauty, serenity and family joy, it’s important to note that we had a MAJOR situation on the first night of our two night retreat.
I locked the keys in the camper.
And by keys, I mean the camper and the car keys. And it was dinner time. Thank the Lord in heaven above that I had put the chicken foil packets in the outdoor fridge (PSA to people considering glamping – GET A CAMPER WITH AN OUTDOOR KITCHEN!), and we already had the fire started. Since Nate was understandably a bit hesitant to break into his own new RV and mess everything up, we called a locksmith. The locksmith (to whom we are extremely grateful even now) then took somewhere between 90 minutes and two hours to get there. In the meantime, we cooked the chicken foil packets with no fire utensils, then ate them with our finger, lapping up every bit of butter in the bottom. I also think it’s important to note that no one in our family died during that two hour period of waiting and wilderness survival, including me, the one who locked the keys in the camper.
The locksmith arrived just in time for our marshmallow roasting. Needless to say, we treated him as a celebrity and made sure to tip royally. After all, it was late on a Friday evening and we were stuck in the middle of nowhere. He was a good man.
It’s ironic, even our best family stories involve some crazy bad thing, or fight or whatever, kind of like the rest of our life. My goal is to remember more of those tough moments with a laugh, not resentment or a heavy heart. Maybe you can relate?