Camp is an exoskeleton. A shell of the haven that I remember. Though the spirit is still vibrant with the souls of decades of Christians who retreated here, the very essence eludes me. It is somehow foreign and impervious. For I am not who I once was. Life and maturity and dreams and nightmares have passed before me. Come and gone and changed the very core of my being. I treasure the memories that permeate the space between my head and my heart. The place that swells with a knot of nostalgia. I rejoice that a newer generation is using this ground to be twisted into submission, but, perhaps, my own obsession can be laid to rest. For in these cabins are not my friends but rather the remembrances of acquaintances past...some fanning the flame of faith and others lost. In the dining hall is the memory of meals shared and desserts devoured in fellowship. In the main deck are messages, spoken long ago, but lingering on the horizon of my own understanding. I can only recall fractions of late night talks that now echo my past. And in the twilight I can experience again but I cannot connect to the way things were.
Campus by the Sea is, in many ways, exactly the same. But, it is also incredibly different. I won't bore you with the details of what changed and what stayed the same. It would take hours to chronicle and you wouldn't really care either way. Instead, I will simply list some observances.
1. Camp is built on a giant dust bowl. I know this because my son was covered in a layer of dirt from Sunday afternoon until Friday night. I never really realized this before.
2. I no longer speak "Teenager." It's sad but completely true. While I do understand what, "OMG. Whatshewant? Hehehe."
"IDK. I so DK."
means, I would never, EVER, dream of speaking in such a manner. It's sad, really, that I've gotten so old.
3. CBS food is still really good.
4. Antonio's is still really good. And still really overpriced. And the service still stinks. And now all the dollar bills are gone off the walls because it's a fire hazard and, also, peanuts aren't allowed outside anymore because it's a bio hazard. There are a lot of hazards associated with Antonio's.
5. Susie is still there. She's just eight years older and eight years cuter and sweeter and I love her.
6. Staying in Sand Dab is really, quite amazing. However, the ants have also uncovered this little known truth.
7. I gained two pounds from eating my body weight in dessert. I will now promptly try to lose this unwanted poundage.
8. My baby hates life vests. He looks like a constipated turtle when you make him wear one.
9. The nautical ropes in the Main Deck are still hung from the beams. They look as though they haven't been so much as rearranged in the past eight years. This was a great relief to me.
10. The voyage to CBS is now taken on Catalina Express which gets you there in one hour and ten minutes and is quite a lot better than the previous three hour tour we were forced to endure.
All in all, fun was had. Troy did a great job with his talks and Jason did a great job leading worship. Garrett and Nevaeh had fun being filthy babies together. They did not have fun being bathed in the "leg shaving" sink. There were first time commitments to Christ and rededications. And that, after all, was the real point in being there.