When I heard that Disney was going to bring to life C.S. Lewis’, The Chronicles of Narnia, I was immediately disappointed. If you’ve seen any of the first three movies about Narnia, you probably understand why. Having read the Chronicles many times, I had in my mind what each character looked like…the magic of Aslan’s voice…the expressions of the children… and of course stature and movements my favorite character, Reepicheep, the fearless mouse.
The director and producers did not give the books justice, but then how could they? Each one of us that read those beloved fairy tales already had our ideas about Narnia, the wardrobe, etc. What producer or director could imagine as each of us had already imagined?
Is the imagination that speaks to us as children and inspires us to dream great adventures, mighty quests, and stunning acts of heroism! Children love fanciful stories, strange facts and to learn about things, that in their opinion, only a few are unable to discover. That’s childhood—-and its a bit of a pity we outgrow it. (At least some of us outgrow it).
What makes our little mountain at The Vineyard so unique are the legends, mysteries and a sense-of-things bordering on “mystical” that captures the minds of children when they arrive on the property. For many, wonderful memories, or fanciful tales of others that came here years ago, create the anticipation for something outstanding each year.
When I first began this camp forty years ago, I visited the oldest and best established camps in the USA. The one I recall the most was one in Vermont. I meet the grandson of the founder, and he was in his nineties! I asked him what was the greatest single factor that made his camp great, and he quickly chirped back: “Don’t change anything”.
I am writing all of this for two reasons: While change might be inevitable, something within me yearns to go back some special places before they changed, and to establish myself in a place that won’t change. God has placed that desire within all our hearts—- a yearning to “return” to Him and live with Him at a place that does not rust, rot, wash away or give way to something new. We want permanency—and all the more in and culture that makes most things disposable, terminal, and deliberately obsolete in a few months. Praise God: The Kingdom He has created is forever!
The second reason is that in raising my three sons I am keenly aware of their hunger for permanency and a solid foundation—-particularly after been sent to live with several other relatives and foster homes before I adopted them. I am a poor substitute for the stability and assurance that God can provide, but until they are able to more fully understand the depth of His love for them and His unconquerable power to sustain all good things, I am doing what I can to create and maintain a “magical” home of purpose, special places and memories.
Likewise at our camp, I cannot create a “permanent” place with indestructible cabins, everlasting trees or eternal pets/mascots. But I am determined to keep all that is good, true, beautiful and worth maintaining, happening every summer for old and returning campers to dream about for many, many years to come. There’s something very “other-worldly” on this mountain…