Ten years or so ago my Hubby and I took a job cooking at a summer camp. It was situated on Vancouver Island on parkland along the coastline. I must say that it is one of the most beautiful and peaceful areas I have ever been to.
Our work, however, was very far from peaceful. We worked the morning shift which meant we helped make breakfast and lunch for approximately 350 campers and 250 staff six days a week!
So, it was nice to get out in the evening and just enjoy a walk along the beach or a cup of tea with some of the young women who were working there in a variety of areas. We made some lasting friendships with people, young and old, from all over the world. It was an experience I will never forget, though it was not always a positive one.
The long hours, intense heat and lack of “personal space” all played heavily on my physical and mental well-being. While I loved the work, the location and the people, It was definitely more than this (then) 48-year-old body and mind could take. I had two outbursts in the kitchen with my hubby that sent us first on a 10-day leave and then home for good.
While these “punishments” were very hard on us, we do believe God had a purpose for them (as He does everything in our lives). It was a church-run camp so faith played a huge part in everything that went on there. There was a reason we were there, and other reasons for being sent home. Some of it, we wouldn’t learn until a few years later.
So what does this have to do with “zip”?
Part of the charm of this camp was a wilderness program that included (among other things) a huge swing that got started with a tractor pulling it up and forward, a climbing wall, and of course, a zip line! I secretly wanted to try some these, especially the zip line. I knew it wasn’t wise as I probably wouldn’t be able to get up there for starters and second, my strength and back were not in shape for it.
What is it about being hurled down a long wire with a hook and harness that is so inviting? I think just the freedom it represents – just you and nature. In fact, I think the song, from Disney’s “Song Of The South”, 1947, would be a great one to sing while zipping through the forest!
When I was 8 years old I watched a film in school about skydiving. I knew from that moment I wanted to jump out of a plane with a piece of fabric helping me to float back to earth. Just imagining the freedom and the view from up there was exciting.
I never did manage to do it and now I don’t even know if I would qualify for a tandem jump; however, every time I see people skydiving or traveling down a zip line I can feel the breeze on my face and the wind at my back!
The closest I got was a ride at Knott’s Berry Farm about 30 years ago. It was a basket you stood in with a parachute-like cover that opened when you got to the top. I was with my sister and two nephews and we each went in a basket with one of the boys. On the way up I became so nauseated I was so over wanting to go for the real thing. But the descent with the “parachute” was awesome. It fueled my desire even more.
Now that I have countless chronic symptoms and illnesses I will never get to do some of the things I have always wanted to. But I don’t really have any regrets because I have done a lot in my life that I never dreamed of.
When dealing with chronic illness, I think we all have to find our Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah days. I wish you one today.