Journey to Summer Camp


Today we’re on our way back to the mountains for a cooler, kinder summer. Our car is filled with various essentials, (my clothes mostly!), and carries an equally stuffed “pod” on the roof. But this year the back seat is not occupied by Bear, my best golden retriever friend who snoozed there on our annual treks for many years, or by the hanging rod with my clothes. For the first time it will be filled by our two granddaughters.
This was their idea. When their mother asked them if they wanted to attend a camp this summer they said they wanted to go to Camp MaBoppa! In case you hadn’t guessed, their names for us are Ma and Boppa. They like “Camp MaBoppa” because it sounds Native American, which is fitting since our summer home is near Cherokee, NC. We know they used to hunt deer and bear on our land because my mother-in-law once found an arrowhead in Buck Creek. The mountain on which our cabin stands is called Deer Lick by the locals, but the deer are long gone. In fact, the creek was named for the last buck to be killed there.  But there are still lots of bears.
As we return to the wilderness home of my soul I’m thinking about the choices that brought me to this moment. I could have made so many wrong turns on my journey. I went to college in the 60’s, a watershed decade for America. Some of the boys in my generation died in the Viet Nam war. Some of the girls became hippy drop-outs, rock band groupies, Playboy bunnies and swingers who, with the invention of the “pill” succumbed to the soul-numbing pleasures of free love or surrendered to the pain-escaping allure of the drug culture, never to recover their balance. How did I manage to keep mine?
Many women of my generation joined the early, angry years of the feminist movement when we were shedding the detritus of thousands of years of repression — the stereotypes, glass ceilings, condescending attitudes and religious prohibitions that had limited our options and buried our souls. Some sacrificed the pleasures of family and children for careers only to regret their choices in later years. Some, like me, struggled to combine both with varying degrees of success and satisfaction. Most managed to move past our rage to places of forgiveness and self-respect, but a few were sucked into whirlpools of heart-wrenching, relationship-destroying disappointment, bitterness and blame. How did I survive that shipwreck?
I’ve always assumed most of the credit belongs to the positive models of my mother and father, but I know of many loving people whose children seem hell-bent on self-destruction so I can’t stop there. There must be many factors, genetic inheritance among them, but I’ve come to believe that the single most important factor responsible for the blessings in my life today is that early on I somehow acquired a religious attitude. As I wrote in my Dec. 21, 2010 post, “Sophia’s Gift of Meaning,” by “religious” I do not mean believing in specific creeds that reflect personal or cultural biases. I mean having reverence for the unconscious, unknown otherness in the world and ourselves. How did I acquire my reverence for life? I honestly don’t know. But Carl Jung believed it is essential to a whole life well-lived and I’m inclined to agree with him.
At this time of the summer solstice, may we cultivate reverence for the miracle of new life bursting forth from every seed. Happy traveling to your soul’s favorite summer camp.

Join 5,847 other subscribers


0 Responses

  1. Enjoy the granddaughters. It will surely be the best Summer camp they will ever experience! What an awesome experience for all of you. You are all on an adventure of a lifetime. I know that you have also been blessed to travel to lots of exotic and wonderful places in your life. I am purposing that this Summer camp experience will be one filled with newness and life and wonder with each new dawn. Blessings to the campers and the camp directors too.

  2. Jean,
    Your well-written post reminds me of how fortunate I am to have also avoided the pitfalls of being a teenager in the 60s. Somehow I also dodged those bullets but I am grateful to have been immersed in that cultural revolution and to have made, for the most part, smart choices. I agree with you about formalized religion – it is the answer for many but in my view, the spiritual connection is the key to a greater understanding, And we still constanting search for even more depth and meaning in our lives.
    Have a relaxing time with your grandchildren…I’m sure that a blessing for you.

    1. Hi Jack,
      Yes, we were lucky to be part of that era, and lucky to have survived it intact. I think it was instrumental in causing our generation to question traditional ideas about religion and create a far more vast and inclusive idea about what is sacred. A good thing in my opinion!
      We’re on the road as I write. I’m wearing a green t-shirt that reads “Camp MaBoppa” that my daughter made for me last night. Let the fun begin!
      My best, Jeanie
      Sent from my iPhone

  3. Jeanie,
    I continue to marvel at your beautifully expressed reflections on the gifts of a meaningful life. Your words capture so much that I continue to discover in my life journey. And thank you for the prompt to go back and reread last December’s “Sophia’s Gift of Meaning.” I too have found Sophia’s wisdom the best guide for finding meaning and connection with the ineffable qualities that give meaning to our existence; the faith impulse, regardless of its guise, is an essential quality of being human.
    Enjoy your summer at fabulous Camp MaBoppa,

    1. Thank you for such kind words, Sally. I love your comment about the essential nature of the “faith impulse.”
      We’re on the road as I write.The girls are being angels. Soph just asked, “Are we there yet?” and we all laughed. The fun has already begun.
      Much love, Jeanie
      Sent from my iPhone

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent Posts