Monday, September 08, 2008

Bear Creek

Bear Creek, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
This past weekend I found myself in Garrett County, Maryland for a leadership retreat that included about 40 people from my church. Garrett County, and Friendsville in particular have a special place in my heart. Here is where my tribe has land. Here is where I experienced intense and wonderful mentoring in Jesus and the Bible. Here is where I saw many others come to know the beautiful life that comes from following Christ. Here is where I was groomed for years to take a position of leadership in my tribe.

So as the retreat ended, I stopped down in friendsville and grabbed a cup of coffee with cream and brown sugar (it's something I learned from an old friend of mine). The place where I got the coffee (with a few friends from the retreat) used to be called Twila's Old Mill Restaurant. It's now called Jubilee Junction, and the whole place is changed. To be honest, it's a really nice place with reasonably priced food and if you are ever in the area you should check it out--they even have free wifi!!!

There was a couple eating in another booth who brought us in a jar of nectarine jam so we could put it on our food. Only we weren't getting food, so I asked the server if we could buy some toast--she just gave us a plate full of toast. Although the restaurant was different, it was a pleasant new memory to make in a town that is chock full of memories for me.

After our coffee, toast, and jam, I took a few friends down to our old tribal swimming hole in Bear Creek. That's where I took the photo. That's our swimming hole. After hot days of working, and hot days of ceremonies, and just hot days in general, we'd always make a trip down to bear creek and take a dip in the cool mountain water.

As I stood there with this group of leaders I began to share memories of this little place. Just below the bottom right corner of this photo is the place where I was baptized back in 1997. (To this day, I'm the only person I know who was baptized in a breech-cloth). I was baptized in that stream with about seven other people including a former jehovah's witness, a satanist, a witch, and a former drug addict. Lives were being changed among and around the shawnee people!!!

In the upper left of the photo is a big rock. That big rock is really special. That's the place where me and my best friend on the planet prayed one day and Jesus met us in a special way on that rock. It wasn't the day of salvation for us, but Jesus touched both of us in such a special way that we began to see our sin and our complacency in a way that we hadn't been able to before.

But you know what, that's what this little stream has always been for me. It's been a place of transformation. It's been a place where I go that each time I'm confronted with my sin and immersed in the great love of Jesus. I don't think I can spend time at this little swimmin' hole and baptismal and be the same.

Even when we would come down to swim, there's such a difference in temperature that it truly feels like a different world.

I'm tempted to write for a while about this little place and all of the memories that I had with my Shawnee people here, but any of them who read this blog will probably remember even more than me.

For me, just being near that stream was balm for my soul. It brought back many beautiful memories.

I don't know if you have a place like this--an old hang out spot, or place where you shared many good memories with friends. If you do, try to go there sometime soon. Go back and walk through those memories. And if you can't drive there--go there in your mind. Remember the good times, the laughter, the tears, and the tender moments.

May your life be transformed today by beautiful memories!!!


batdog said...

I have to say, I teared up a wee bit there.
Nice picture. That water looks cold.
Makes me miss Raincrow.
Thanks for posting that. You have blessed me.(as always)

James M said...

Wow. Pretty amazing. Thanks for sharing something so very special.