Camping Alone

“Oh… that’s weird… What did you do?”

A few weeks ago, I went camping all by myself. I paid for my campsite, I backpacked to my site, set up my tent, collected fire wood, and built a fire all by myself. Not only was I by myself on my campsite, but I was the only person in the entire campground for both nights.

The reason I’m posting about this is because when I tell people about it, the response is usually, “Oh… that’s weird… What did you do?” Now, if you are a contemplative introvert like I am, then you will realize how bizarre a statement and absurd a question that is. You are probably thinking, “You think that’s weird? That sounds like paradise!”

And for me, it was.

The very afternoon I left for my trip, I had just finished the last of my major, pre-finals assignments and submitted it online. The previous week had been extremely stressful, and I wanted to go be alone to pray, journal, and think. It’s my way of unwinding. While I don’t feel the need to justify my trip, I would like to answer the question: what did you do?

First of all, I fasted. My camping trip began Sunday and ended Tuesday morning. I started fasting on Saturday and ended my fast Monday afternoon, so I fasted a total of two and a half days. It was a great and tangible way to humble myself and acknowledge my dependence on God. He is my true and only sustenance; and nourishing my soul is, in the most literal sense, infinitely more important than nourishing my body. The spiritual food of Christ’s body offered on the cross is all I will ever need, and without it I am utterly incapable to have any lasting joy or satisfaction.

Also, I did a great deal of communing with God through His creation. I looked for the best spots to watch the sunrise and the sunset. As I laid down and watched the trees blow in the breeze up high above me, I admired God’s creativity as I thought about the beauty of the changing light throughout the day as the sun slid across the sky. At night, when I felt spooked, I thought about how the good and knowable God who created the day is the same good, and unknowable God with frightening, hidden aspects who created the night. God created my eyes and He created the trees, so I thought about how God tenderly cares for us in the way that He gave us a soul that sees the beauty of the trees.

In short, It was a time to refocus my heart on the things that are truly important before I allow the merely temporary things to hammer me into the ground and smother me. It was a time for me to reorder the priorities of my heart and mind by prioritizing the Gospel and my Creator.