I spent last week at Mo Ranch in the beautiful hill country of Hunt, TX. And it was radically awesome.
I got a killer bruise on my right thigh from accidentally falling off the paddle board that was later aggressively taken from me and my friends. I lost my prayer journal full of many notes and lots of things I was thinking about during group discussion but maybe someone found it and used it as a fan because at least then it would be put to good use after falling from my possession. I ate a lot of stale popcorn, chocolate ice cream that wasn’t very creamy, and dry bread.
Mo Ranch taught me more than I thought it would. I learned that love is what I am called to seep and wrap my arms around whole-heartedly. Love is not for some. Love is for all. God’s radical love is what allows me to open my heart up to myself and to others. And often, I have to help myself in order to help others. I have to care for the community to remember that I am no greater than my servers.
I learned how kindness and empathy go hand in hand. We cannot have or know true empathy without letting kindness fill our shoes first. Kindness is what allows us to see both the sorrow and the joy of others. So without kindness, empathy cannot be. Empathy is laying down of our armor to break our own hearts in order to see the needs of others.
I learned to claim my space. I have to let people know that I am here to say, do, and change things. And I am going to do it by disrupting order while still honoring the foundation that was set before me.
I learned that I have the best church family in the entire world. I mean that literally. They are my second family and I only know that because they drive me insane. But still, there is no one else I would rather spend an entire week with in a place where the stars cannot be hidden from the clouds. We may have played Tipsy far too many times and made jokes that probably shouldn’t have been made but we all know that that is just the way God made us to be. This love we share is the greatest gift of all. And I could never be more thankful.
Love, Valerie x
Here are some photos:
This is Chapel on the Hill. We worshiped here Thursday evening, our last night at camp. The birds in the sky even came to join the service as well. It was easily one of the prettiest places at camp.We walked on this catwalk every morning on our way to breakfast and every evening on our way to dinner. When we looked down we could see our shadows on the tree line underneath, so our heads were down most of the time. There were lots of songs played on this grated walk and lots of running into the rails.This was our view from Wednesday night worship. We laid a blanket on the grass along the riverfront, lucky to be in the shade, and enjoyed sunset together. We swam in the Guadalupe River every single day while at camp. We may have lost Jordan’s Chaco at the bottom and burned our shoulders a bit but the river still treated us very well. We went canoeing, fishing (kind of), and jumped off a bridge that was impossible to get onto without the help of friends or a paddle board. Jordan and I got to be top bunk mates! Lots of laughs were made up here. 🙂This is a photo of me and only some only some of the people I get to call my second family. The sun must have been in Devon’s eyes.Group photo. Serious love for these people. My best friend Jordan! What a lady. What a blessing. What a beautiful person to laugh with. What a gift to me. What an awesome person to run through life with. Incredibly grateful for her. This was the last camp I got to go to with one of my longest friends named Margaret. It’s bittersweet to know that Mo Ranch was the last one we got to share together but it was an awesome last one to have!
Thank you Mo Ranch.