I spend a good portion of my life and work asking this question. What is it that you need? What is the need here? Where is it that the need intersects with the wants and how does that fit in with the resources that you already have? It’s a different definition for everyone it seems…what you need. But is it? Setting out our camping gear (oh, yeah!) caused me to reflect on this. We got everything together…by the way we have many camping trips under our belts…so we know what we need. We also know what we want to have.
We have water, food, clothes, and a tent. That’s it, folks, that’s all you need. But that’s not all we took. Take a look at our first breakfast. You want some, dontcha?
We were at Dinosaur Valley State Park, and we camped in the primitive walk-in sites. The week before was full with cramming work into 3.5 days and getting all the necessary things together. Monday, I had just arrived at work and was busy getting my plan ready for the day. My husband Matt called me and said that our high school daughter had called him scared because there was a shooting threat at her school. He said he was going to pick her up. My heart jumped. I’m not a panic person. But, how do you respond in this situation without a prick of fear filling your body? I’m a rational person. But, this situation and all the other ones like them blow your mind and all bets are off. What does my daughter need in this situation? I began scouring all sources to find out what was going on. Matt called me and said there were 30 cars in line to pick up kids. Not safe either. What do we need as parents in this circumstance? Ugh. He finally got up to the office and there were just as many parents in the line at the office waiting to get their child to put them next to them and know where they are and what would affect them….at least in that moment.
In the meantime, I found out that some student had posted something on social media over the weekend that through other responding posts morphed into a perceived threat. The student was in questioning, and there was no immediate danger. I relayed this information to Matt and my girl. One of the assistant principals who goes to our church came out and saw Matt and assured him the situation was totally safe. Matt said he began to realized he was not helping by standing in that line. He called our daughter andby this time (he’d been waiting a while) she was not scared anymore. She had heard the story, and she said she was fine to stay at school. She said irrational fear is hard to differentiate in this circumstance and the kids who were big into social media hadn’t even shown up to school. What does our community need in this situation?
I checked on her a few times that day, and she was jovial. I thought about all the lives, jobs, and learning that was disrupted today because of someone’s words. Not much work was being done because there weren’t many students, and she said there were a line of squad cars around the school. She said she felt fine. I thought about her a lot all day, and I was happy and relieved to pull into that very empty parking lot to get her that afternoon. When the car door opened, she plopped into the seat and grinned, “Well! I didn’t die!” I laughed out loud and then sobered quickly. That’s not funny, I said. “People made jokes all day, Mom, what else do you do?” she responded. What else, indeed?
And here we are now, exiting from this society for a few days to get away, relax, restore which is definitely what we need. The primitive walk-in sites were super cool, and the trail to get to them is like a storybook walk into the woods. Yes, we were singing the song. We tried hard not to hike in the dark, but by the time we had all the stuff on our backs, it was dark. No one was nervous, not even Claire this time. We enjoyed the hike scanning for exciting creatures we might discover.
The camp site was lovely. We were right next to the Paluxy River. The only downside was that there were stickers everywhere. The kids fussed at first, and my fingers protested the removal of them from all over my shoes, but we pushed through. By the end, we were all just grabbing them and yanking them out, even out of our skin. I love it when callousing happens to our perspective esecially when it causes adaptation to be able to tolerate small irritations. It is truly amazing what we human beings can handle…even the youngest of us.
We spent the long weekend exploring dinosaur tracks and trails. I made my standard cowboy stew for the camp. We swam in the Blue Hole which is a sweet old river swimming hole with cold water and some dinosaur tracks to add to the fun. I felt everything and I smelled it all. I relaxed into the dirt under my fingernails, and enjoyed freedom from appearance.
After meals, I rinsed my dishes in the river. And every morning, I went down to the river to wash my face. It was on that rock in that river, the cold water dripping off my chin that I kept thinking about what I need, what those daughters need, and even what does this culture need to ensure health and wholeness.
I’m wondering if the Beatles were right. I wonder if all you need is love. If love rules the day, the week, the year, you can be anywhere and be right. If there is love, you or someone is sharing food together, tents, water. If you’re loved, you don’t care to spout out words that might be taken as a threat. If there’s love, you wring your hands in love determining not under any circumstance to be ruled by fear. Perfect love drives out fear, after all. That’s from the Scripture, by the way, not the Beatles.