I Know the Lord Wants Me to Be Happy!
The staff member’s voice and body language, as he gave the 7:00 AM staff meeting devotional, underlined the superficial message: “Don’t Worry! Be Happy! Life atDeerfoot Lodge this summer will be wonderful…easy! We’ll have a ball!”
Who hired this guy? He must have been a young, 1st year staff member at the beginning of the summer. When he finished, I remember saying that we should be happy this summer, not because Life at the Lodge would be all fun and games, but because we were serving our Lord and Savior. Things would get really tough/challenging for many of us – not fun! Regardless of the circumstance, we should be happy in the biblical sense: enjoying well being and contentment – because we believe we are doing the good works God had prepared for us to do.
This devotional, given years ago, came to mind this past Memorial Day work weekend, when 115 came to DL to work! The dining hall roof was to be re-placed; logs were to be peeled for the log cabin currently under construction. More screen doors for cabins were to be built – Peter Stark’s doors last! The fuel tanks and their roof and containment tank were to be moved to behind the maintenance building. (Russell Naysmith brought his huge excavator from NJ – the roof was cut free from the base and carried to position. Then the cement slab with 3’ cement block walls was carefully pulled and lifted to its new location). There were many trees to be cut and split, particularly in the Woodsman section, the result of several storms during the previous 9 months. Camper cabin screens were to be replaced, log stairs to be built. The work list was long!!
Saturday’s temperature was between 32 and 37 degrees. It drizzled or rained all day – except during lunch when it snowed for a brief time. At times the wind was strong. The weekend was like summer camp when it rains. The program does not change very much. And so the workers, soaking wet and cold, continued to replace the roof, peel the logs, cut and split wood. And at the end of the day, do we really think 115 people were able to get hot showers?
Were the 22 men “ha, ha, happy” when they went to the Hutch cabin to crawl into sleeping bags that had been absorbing moisture and staying cold through the day. It was even tougher to go back to a bunk in a Woodsman cabin, crawling into your damp sleeping bag, knowing the wind might blow in rain during the night as it had during the day. Throughout the weekend there was talk about the lousy weather – but I do not remember anyone complaining about their work or their housing assignment.
During the Breaking of Bread service we shared, we sang- we worshiped the Lord, enjoying well-being and contentment.
The food was excellent as usual – even though Chef Shawn Barnett did not arrive until Saturday afternoon due to flight problems. Breakfast at 7:00 AM and everyone was on time. Break at 10:30 – many kept working through the break. Lunch at 1:00, and people were late. Break at 4:30 – many kept going. Supper at 7:00…and again, many were late. Having the facility ready for the staff and campers was the focus. The weather was the challenge to overcome.
The Deerfoot experience, particularly for the staff, develops a mental toughness! I remember a staff training hike when many of the High Peaks trails were streams of water or swampy ponds. I was wearing moisture absorbing socks. They absorbed moisture to the place where my feet were in pain; my circulation was being cut off, my toes turned blue. We pushed through the situation. Counselors can get a cabin full of problem campers – sometimes it is the campers themselves and the problems they bring. At other times…it is the chemistry of the cabin. Two weeks of dealing with situation after situation – but never quitting. At DL we continually learn about physical, mental and spiritual toughness.
The Lord does want me to be happy – if this happiness is defined “enjoying well being and contentment”. At DL the staff and campers sing “I’m so happy in Jesus every day”. This can be true in a very significant way, when we live “In Partnership With God”.