Seven years ago an event occurred that has now developed into an annual tradition. What started as an event for our small group at church is now a church wide event. For a few days during the summer every year, we choose to have our friends become neighbors.
We pack up, load our cars, and head out of town. We reserve a spot so we can all be together, side by side. We leave the comforts of home to face life together, as neighbors.... in tents. We go camping together.
That's where we spent this last weekend.
The temperatures were in the 90's. Five families chose to brave the elements of camping for the joy and pleasure of being neighbors for a short time. Five more families drove up for the day on Saturday to enjoy the time with us. There were a total of almost 40 of us swimming, boating, fishing, eating and enjoying life together.
The children all play so well together and thoroughly enjoy their time! They create so many memories of their own. The trip is never complete for some of them until they have had fishing poles in the water.
Even lathered with sunscreen, every trip includes those that end up with sunburns. Some more than others. This year was no different.
Every trip also includes evening smore's around a campfire. Even on the years that have included fire bans, we have found ways to get our marshmallows roasted.
This year, we were permitted the evening campfire, which always finds some staying up until past midnight just enjoying the fire, the conversation, each other...
Each year also seems to include the similar memories of no make up, hair up as much as possible and teeth brushed... sometimes standing side by side. Dishes are done together, meals are cooked and placed together and supplies are shared.
The things that we have learned, the experiences that we have shared, the love that we have developed and the heart bonds that have occurred through these few days each year are beyond what words can convey.
There is truly something that is created through this event alone. There is a special place in my memories and in my heart as the choice is made, for a few days every year, to have our friends become neighbors.