Tents and journeys

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Camping

It’s been awhile since I’ve been camping – as in, actually putting up a tent instead of camping in a cabin or in my car! You try to pack light because realistically, how many outfits can you wear in two days? No matter how prepared you come, there will always be inconveniences in being away from home – the floor is hard no matter how much padding you pile up, the cooking and showering facilities are basic, the wildlife try to steal your food even when it’s packed away, tidying up is hard with the nearest bin being a long walk away. But it’s okay because the inconveniences are short lived.

At night, our rather large dome tent was set up alongside other campers, staying in one man tents, to jeep tents, to roof top tents, and massive powered caravans. But by late morning, the grounds were bare again. All that remained of this village was the few stragglers who were still packing their cars, and the wallabies keen to feast on food dropped from the previous night. As fun as makeshift accommodation is, the contrast you notice going back to the comforts of your “permanent” house makes home feel more home than ever, if that makes sense.

Dwelling in tents

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. – 2 Corinthians 5:1

Being away is refreshing in giving you space to think, and this time I pondered again over what Paul says about our time on earth. Sometimes it’s hard to not feel that this life is it. In the past there were times when I was acutely aware of the brevity of life. There were also periods, some more than others, when I was confronted and touched by death in the hospital setting. Perhaps more so when I was a student than in recent times. It doesn’t feel like we are visitors living in tents, when we spend much time in young adulthood thinking about long term goals. I find it a delicate balance, that we need to appropriately invest in our career, finances, property, family and children, but remember at the same time that we are merely passing through. It’s hard to consider ourselves as “foreigners and strangers” (Hebrews 11:13, also 1 Peter 2:11) instead of citizens of earth. To appreciate the blessing of our heavenly citizenship, made possible through Jesus Christ on the cross. To shift our focus to heavenly treasures, to work for God’s kingdom in this life and look forward to our permanent home, rather than primarily being concerned for example, in our comfort, our achievements and possessions which will soon fade.

Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be. – Psalms 39:4-6

…Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. – Ecclesiastes 3:19-20

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. – Philippians 3:20-21

Off track

For the longest time I didn’t like outdoorsy stuff much. Especially not around here, where the sun always burns. Plus, whilst I’m not fond of the pale vampire look (which did happen last winter) I don’t particularly like getting tanned either. I’m not sure then, why even before this trip, I had a notion that driving around the country, camping in various places, hiking at national parks and going for long walks would be awesome. Maybe I’m influenced by the story I read a couple of months back, about a guy who walked across China, with the initial plan to walk from China to Germany. Not that I’m hippie enough to do anything as exciting and unfortunately, it’s a lot harder to safely do something like that as a girl. Nevertheless, I think I will take some risks and deviate a little from the career pathway expected of me, which my family is not thrilled about. The possibilities…!

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