Shortly after the above exclamation, you can expect to see a pulley ring dangling in front of you, waiting for you to “tweezle in” and move to the next element. At least, that’s what you can expect when you’re in the middle of a ropes course with my family.
Like any close knit group of people, my family often creates inside joke phrases that would be total nonsense to anyone else except us. Just try playing Monopoly with us; I’m sure you’ll have no idea what’s going on. Special Star Wars Monopoly rules, anyone? Spending this summer at home has allowed me to experience these inside jokes and funny moments first hand, and it’s something I wouldn’t trade.
But let’s back up for a minute. Why am I still at home? Shortly after graduation in May, I accepted a job that requires me to wait indefinitely before I can actually start. Sounds frustrating and strange? It is a little, but for now, I get to enjoy spending time with my family, friends and candy store coworkers.
Having the summer off also meant I could staff two weeks of JP. In the month of July, I packed up my car and drove off to the glorious land of Romney, WV, where I bonded with other staff, students and adult leaders. One of the many cool aspects of JP is the blend of uniqueness and sameness. Each week brings its own mix of people with a variety of backgrounds and experience, yet each week of the summer has the same type of jobs, same schedule, same theme, and even similar menu. I found comfort in the familiarity and the simplicity of Romney. Having limited cell phone and internet service—and even less time to find and use said services—it’s much easier to focus on many of the aspects of life that I’ve come to value the most: my relationship with God, friendships and service. From holding a screw and teaching a middle school student to use a drill, to hanging out with the homeowners and long conversations with students, staff and adults, a week at JP, while exhausting, is one of the most rewarding, rejuvenating and transformational weeks of the year. It’s a chance to be fully present and engage in my surroundings.
Experiencing the present moment is something I have attempted since I started writing this blog, and I’ve found the technique is continuously evolving. Whether it’s running full speed (literally and metaphorically) through senior year or enjoying a week at the beach with my family before my sisters head off to college, living in the present is always a challenge, especially when you’re a planner stuck in an indefinite waiting period.
But when your computer quits unexpectedly and you’re forced to wait for its repair, you start to think that maybe there’s something more than just sleeping in to this “take-a-step-back-and-breathe” mentality. That being productive during this period of waiting is great, but unproductive rest is really okay sometimes, too. And maybe learning to be patient with your circumstances also translates to learning to be patient with yourself.
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” –Gandalf