What if things could be different?

We went camping with my oldest son’s scout troop this weekend. The leaders called the grounds “rustic,” as the entrance was a mile torn up dirt road, there was no electricity or running water. There were also cows and subsequently cow poop everywhere, and it was also 95 degrees. The leaders knew it was my husband’s first time camping ever, and my second time since I was probably 10, but without an orientation as to what to expect, our expectations weren’t very well managed. By 2:00 yesterday, I had burst into tears and was ready to go home.

Then I started thinking about what I’ve learned about the Inner Critic, and how it’s really just internalized negative attitudes that were projected onto us. I asked myself if I wanted my boys walking away from the experience negatively impacted by my attitude, or if I could allow their experiences to impact my mood. I took a picture of each child living his best life this weekend: My oldest so responsibly participating as color guard in the opening flag ceremony before going to archery (which I unfortunately don’t have pictures of,) my middle son being overtaken by the majesty of the mountain, lake and cloud speckled sky and my youngest so proud to have climbed a tree stump twice his size without help and 2 brothers nearly snuggled up next to each other watching the campfire as the pack sang fun songs, told jokes and did skits.

As we were packing up, I asked my oldest if he had a good time. He said, “I had a great time, but I’m sorry you had a horrible time.” I protested and showed him these pictures, and shared how much I enjoyed watching them enjoy their time with this community. On the way home, we talked about the beauty of the stars, the cool birds we saw, and how fun archery, pretending to fish and the campfire sing-a-long was. my husband and I also quietly appreciated the kindness of everyone there who freely shared their snacks, their kids toys, and empathized with our exhausted, hot, and hungry selves and took our honest criticism of the experience to heart.

I believe it was God who spoke to my heart and again asked the question, “What if this story could turn out differently?” and changed my heart when my circumstances were less than ideal. I’m so grateful.

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