“The mountains are fountains of men as well as of rivers, of glaciers, of fertile soil. The great poets, philosophers, prophets, able men whose thoughts and deeds have moved the world, have come down from the mountains — mountain-dwellers who have grown strong there with the forest trees in Nature’s work-shops.”– John Muir
My phone rang beneath my bed and brought me out from a sound sleep.
“Hey man! Good morning!” a familiar voice exclaimed.
“Good morning! What’s going on?” I responded, somewhat groggy in the early morning.
“Today’s the day we paddle the Linville together. Are you up for it?”
My mind snapped into crisp focus. I’d had my eye on the fabled river in the Carolina high-country which split the Linville Gorge for years. Was I up for this particular adventure? I wondered. Was I properly prepared?
The voice on the line went on steadily, “You’re ready. Want to go paddling with me? This will be awesome!” And so we went.
My first run down the Linville river was a blissful and enriching experience. The immense, staggeringly beautiful rapids and gorge walls enthralled me. The whole place was dripping with the blossoms of mountain laurel – these gorgeous, white flowers fell into the little pools before and after the many class V rapids which pepper the glorious 9 mile stretch of riverbed I experienced that day.
All of this because of an early morning invitation. My mentor and paddling buddy saw potential in me and called it forth. He proposed something he knew I was ready for, although I had to step up in confidence and trust to meet that challenge. This is what great friends do. They bring us into adventures that stretch, ground, and grow our hearts so we can bear greater fruit than we previously thought possible.
My mom and dad, Anne and Dave Trufant, answered a similar call more than thirty years ago. It wasn’t a sleepy Saturday morning wake-up; it was a call of a different sort. It was an interior, deep seated kind of call, one that would change their lives and the lives of many others forever. They had similar thoughts and feelings to the ones I shared on the morning my buddy invited me into a more rugged wilderness than I’d ever experienced. “Do we have what it takes? Is this foolhardy or is this a risk that can bear fruit in our lives and in our community?”
Anne and Dave provide a model for answering God’s many invitations to adventure in our lives. These invitations are rarely easy, and often feel like class V decision making! But our Lord is faithful and leads us if we listen to Him. And he is the best paddling buddy a person can ask for down this rowdy river called life! He sees potential in your little pursuits to do amazing things and calls you forth – but only you can choose to answer his call in your life.
Consider Moses peacefully tending his flock when he heard the invitation of the Lord through a bush that was burning but not consumed by the flame. The Lord (basically) said, “Hey Moses, I see your friends and family hurting and suffering, and I also see gifts in you that could be helpful in giving them freedom from their hard struggles. Will you let me lead you on an adventure to help them? In saying yes to this, you will enter into deeper friendship with God, love your neighbors, and live a life richly and deeply satisfying to you…”
This is how good God is. He looks into our stories and proposes adventures in which he uses our gifts to help heal the hurts of the world. But to respond to his invitations in our lives, it takes trust and an interior freedom. When we respond, we say yes to challenges and hard things for our own good and for the good of others. As an example, consider the choice to be a father or a mother. It’s hard to be a parent, but how good is it to witness parents laying down their own interests to provide for the needs of their children? What an adventure that is!
At Kahdalea and Chosatonga, we provide fertile soil in which the human heart can learn to say yes to adventure for the good of the world. This is a virtue that takes practice, just like learning to kayak, learning to rock climb, or playing a new song on the guitar for the first time! But we’ll be there (just like God with Moses), holding your hand, encouraging you, and calling you forth into awesome places you didn’t realize you were capable of going.
What adventures are you called to? What invitation tugs at your heart? At Kahdalea and Chosatonga, our commitment is to teach our campers and staff to confidently say yes to adventure in their lives. This inclination of the heart will make an impact that resounds through generations of our camp families and the world.
– Adam Trufant