Higgins Lake, the deep spring fed lake encapsulated by trees. Today’s alarm clock, the sunrise. Out the sliding glass door was the mirror image of orange and red as the sun rose over the lake. The night’s dew was illuminated. It was as if the entirety of the lake was yawning and wishing us a good morning. My only thought? “Wow, I love Jesus.”
This day became our only down day the entire trip. We did a whole lot within the confines of the home and in the water. Jesus brought us through a lot in just a mere 24 hours. The day began with worship! It was a really sweet time, that I feel we really needed. The Lord showed up in a calming way and brought peace to the day. In preparing for the day, we recognized our need to go to the store to buy supplies while indoors. Ariella was a hostess and lifesaver the whole day! She did nothing but serve all of us boys. She did laundry, made our beds, and prepared dinner. We were pampered.
A little while after the trip to the store, the four of us waded out into the water. It was refreshingly cold. Ezra almost froze (not literally, but he did turn purple). Shortly thereafter, we made our way indoors, showered up, and laid low.
This day was challenging. There was an undercurrent to the whole day that created tension following our spaghetti dinner. Ezra and Ariella, or Ezriella as we affectionately call them, have been dating for the entire summer. As a friend group, we would have it no other way. The way they honor each other and challenge each other is beautiful. The love language they share is physical touch, so they are very physically affectionate. It isn’t too much to handle, and they are very aware of their PDA, It is really honoring that they, as a couple, are so comfortable around the rest of us to love each other in the best way they can possibly receive love. However, there began to grow a desire for equal connection for Ryan and myself from our own significant others. This day became the realization of how badly I missed Emily. My heart longed to sit with her. To listen to everything she had to tell me or to just sit in silence and enjoy what Jesus has been doing in both of our hearts. Ryan, likewise, was missing his Emily as well. With friction comes fire!
After dinner, we began a game of apples to apples, during which I became engulfed in my iPhone. I take complete ownership of my mistakes in becoming less present in the moment and desiring to be more present with Emily, virtually. This has been a conversation that our friend group has discussed times before; when together, the phones go away. My desire to talk to Emily took over everything else that was going on. My desire to be with Emily took over my desire to be present in the game.
I was wrong in not explaining my need in the moment. I checked out. Later, I apologized and repented for not investing the time as wisely as I could, but that doesn’t help the hurt that was experienced. I wronged my closest friends to text my girlfriend. If I could have a do over, I would have explained myself much better than I did.
Apples to apples turned into BS and then Egyptian Rat Screw. The competitive nature of the table built, and the wronging mentioned in the previous paragraphs became apparent. The games took a turn towards disrespectful, and following a heated round of ERS, during which the drizzle finally stopped outside, we went outside to enjoy some fire one of my favorite activities ever.
Ryan took to the fire. Ezra brought out fireworks. We lit them off and sat in the heat. Having now realized the extent in which I had hurt feelings, I attempted to apologize and try to get some conversation going. It was rough. No one was really having it. We were all stuck around a campfire that seemingly no one wanted to be at.
Jesus is a redeemer. He turned the silence into process. Allowed for reconciliation to take place. Allowed for grace to flow from all parties. And pieced together some fantastic conversations, that I don’t think we fully realized. We explained the depth of the trip up to that point. We expressed a desire to be together in what we do. We discussed victory over lust. We talked about new chapters in our lives, all the while processing the day. Fire, in retrospect, has done this to me without failure, through my entire life. There is a wisdom in the flames. A chaotic peace that stirs the soul. Jesus uses fire as imagery and Holy Spirit even comes as fire throughout scripture. There was no wonder to that truth, but bewilderment at what it truly meant. Praise Jesus for providing grace. We slept fast that night, because heading to Chicago started early in the morning.