At the beginning of September, we took a 5-night camping trip to the Zion/Bryce region in Utah when the weather unexpectedly turned from 90F daytime temperature to 30F at night with 40 m/ph gusts. The tent was beckoning from the fierce wind and the nighttime chill was uncomfortable, to say the least. In a nutshell, it was like a camping nightmare for us who have been so spoiled by the mild climate in California. We entertained the idea of escaping the cold for a few nights and stay at a nearby motel but we decided that we would get through it together as a family. We implemented all kinds of creative detours to take our minds off from how challenging those nights felt. We had our family dinner in the car with the heater and uplifting music on instead of sitting around the campfire as we usually do. We crawled into our sleeping bags before dark and told the funniest stories to each other in the tent (one included an imaginary "arctic chicken" by Frido). We then topped it off with a cup of hot chocolate for breakfast. The most interesting experience about this is when Frido and I ask the girls about their favorite memory of the camping trip today, they tell us about how cold those nights were and about the day we took them horseback riding.
I get that they loved the horseback riding. (My girls are in love with animals). But those cold nights? Sure enough, no matter how many times I ask, they tell me that those cold nights were such fun for them. Their feedback made me ponder about how our "truth" is shaped by many layers of information both internal and external. Here are three big takeaways I made sure to bring home with us as we packed our campsite on our last day.
1. It was inevitable that the challenging time came our way and it was bigger than the conditions which we could physically change. We needed to accept it. We couldn't deny how cold those nights were but with advanced knowledge (thanks to the weather forecast) and creativity, we were able to come up with ways to lessen the impact. I had four layers of socks in a sleeping bag. I still didn't feel my toes when the sun came up on the 2nd morning but I came out of the trip with all ten toes... and just imagine us literally layering all the clothes we brought with us:)
2. It was important to be kind and tender to each other and to our minds and bodies as we went through the ups and downs of our challenge. We went the extra mile of offering nurturing gestures to our girls and sharing special treats. The humor worked wonderfully too. I don't really remember the details of the arctic chicken story Frido was telling but we sure should have written it down because I remember us laughing so hard in our sleeping bags.
3. While we were not able to influence the external situation that we were facing (30F degree in a tent!!!), we tried to make the most by being a part of the unfolding moments. When our kids say, "our favorite part of the camping was those cold nights" they also add "because we did all kinds of funny things together". The external situation and the moment-to-moment unique experience during the time, together, made up "our" truth, turning it into a one-of-the-kind story we ended up remembering.
I am pulling a lot of metaphors from this Zion adventure to get through some of my tough days here at home... and I hope it inspires you to join us and laugh a little bit at us (aka. an amateur camping family) and also to add to collective wisdom about human nature.
Trina has shared wonderful writing prompts in her story. I believe some of her prompts are great tools to document "our truth" through writing. I hope you can jot down your thoughts to connect to your senses and be in touch with the experience which you will remember from the season we are all in.
For me... I hope to continue believing in the wonder and mystery of our life and the time we are given to contribute to the world whether it's 30F degrees or 90F degrees (I am fully aware that there are bigger issues we are meeting and tackling right now and I am borrowing this from my story to make a point here:) Each of us has a role that is unique and that has not and will not change despite this season. Let's keep building our truth.
always work in progress...
Pasadena // October 10th, 2020
**This is from our BK Love Letter for October 2020. If you would like to see the entire love letter we sent to our community, you can browse it via this link.