Two groups assembled in that lakeside Bible camp this weekend--a hundred or so dressed-down students, and a hundred or so dressed-up retirees. Both groups sang music, but not from the same hymnal. The students' music was far more repetitive, more chant-like. It went slower. I'm not kidding.
Somehow, for the students, I was the speaker, a man forty years older than they are and far closer in age to the old folks toting well-worn Bibles to and from their own sectionals.
When I was introduced, the campus pastor told the kids (I'm mean no disrespect) that they were lucky to have me for a speaker (sweet talk) because I was something of an anomaly, inasmuch as old farts don't normally communicate as well as, supposedly, I do. They laughed, and I know a compliment when I hear one, even if the package it comes in ain't pretty, so I laughed too. Besides, like parenthesis around the whole retreat were two sweet trips to a hospital nursery, where this grandpa couldn't get his fill of another another kid, of another generation entirely.
The weather was perfect, so the retreat kids chose to worship and stuff outside, at a fire pit that fills most of a thin finger of earth, lake water on both sides. Friday night, the sun set west and the moon rose east in amplified, saturated technicolor, thanks to visiting smoke from California fires half a continent away. On both sides of that fire pit, red beauty raged. I should have just shuttup and let the heavens preach--it was perfectly gorgeous all over.
Out here in Republican country, the college where I teach doesn't celebrate Labor Day--the students just got here, after all; I haven't had a Labor Day holiday in almost forty years. No matter. I may have missed a day off, but between gorgeous skies, fun kids, a few good jokes, and a brand new grandson, I couldn't have done any greater celebrating.
And for all that, this morning, this grandpa is proudly thankful.