Many moons ago I worked at a summer camp in Cavan Ontario. Maple Creek Ranch was one of Ontario’s premier summer camps for kids ranging from youngsters to teens. I was first a camper each summer, but as I grew older and my dad being the first aid man on staff, I reached staff designation in my early teens. I worked many jobs there, but my favorite was working in the stables with the horses. It involved early mornings, long days mucking stalls, instructing proper methods necessary for the partaking of equestrian enjoyment, feeding and maintaining the delightful mood of a one-and-a-half ton beautiful beast of God’s exquisite creative design. In other words, one of our main priorities was ensuring the safety of the campers during their riding lessons and trail rides.
Aside from the delightful daily routines of keeping campers alive during their stay at the ranch, staff were able to enjoy certain other amenities to keep us from going completely insane speaking to horses, awaiting a reply and being convinced they were communicating back to us… my favorite, outside of crushing campers at ping pong, was the trampoline. This mid 90’s death trap was a bright orange rubberish canvas stretched violently to its absolute tightest possible position, secured by rusty, tetanus covered springs. Now at the risk of revealing my age (I’m 36), this was circa 1995, when lessons were learned by doing; where safety measures were not to the standards they are today, and where lawsuits were at a minimum because, well “Kids will be Kids”! I never quite mastered the art of the acrobatic trampoline skill. I have never been the most athletic, graceful or overly coordinated individual, and as a teenager, was on the slightly portly side of the body type spectrum (my nickname was Pudge, if that gives you any indication). Therefore, my main job when involved in the trampoline activities was to act as the launching pad for the campers and staff that were stupidly brave enough to allow the heavy set staff member to give them a little extra encouragement. If you are not familiar with the art of the trampoline, if there are two individuals occupying the precious launching surface, one may choose to time their bounce just as their partner is close to descending so that said partner receives essentially double the propulsion and are sent skyward with the calculated vector force of both parties. Simple physics really…and man does it make for some quality stories!! If someone is unprepared to receive this valuable extra boost of epic proportion, they may lock their knees thus causing a cascading effect where abouts the knee is forced in a flexed position, driving with fierce velocity into the face of the same individual… in other words, teeth becoming intimate with the knee, makes for a bloody mess, but in hindsight, a great story!
There are many memories that can be shared from my summer camp experiences, but the trampoline served as one where friends and colleagues congregated to enjoy time together.
Recently, I’ve been told by many people that life will get better. Eventually things will shift and situations will turn from depressing to joyful and reasons for my struggles and stress will eventually be revealed. To be honest, I’m getting a little tired of hearing it. I’m not one to say it to others, as it really doesn’t help in the present time. When life is a struggle, when each day is a chore just to get out of bed, hearing that is “going to get better” doesn’t make the “now” feel any different. Maybe it should, maybe I’m not looking at each day with the perspective I should, perhaps I’m too deep in my own sorrow and depression to think into the future and hope for change and better days?!?
So I think of the trampoline at the Ranch, how with each bounce there is a descending and then an opposite reaction of positive upward motion. Which is suppose is what happens in life. Things will go bad, then good and then maybe down again, and back up…
I don’t know about you, but personally, I feel like I am in a constant state of slow motion descending creating an incredible amount of pressure, but the weight keeps pushing down. I can only hope that eventually I will be released and will sore skyward again, but for the time being, I just pray that the springs hold, that the canvas doesn’t tear, like the eventual fate that became of the trampoline at the ranch.
I am at a place currently where I have way more questions than answers. I can’t answer the questions my kids ask about “why things are happening the way they are”, I can’t answer my own questions about the future, I can only pray that eventually things will change. For now however, I will continue to ask for direction, I pray to a God that just doesn’t seem to want to give me any answers right now, but I have no other option. My hope is fading which seems to only lead to more questions. I won’t sugarcoat my feelings and my thoughts… I’m scared, I’m frustrated and it continues to press harder and harder, not allowing for a breath. Will I stop, no… I have 5 reasons to keep going everyday even when I just don’t want to, or have no ambition left in me to hope in better days. Please understand me, I have amazing friends, family and a place to work that I cherish everyday with people who mean the world to me and have been the most supportive and encouraging individuals anyone could ever ask for… it just doesn’t seem to change the inner dialogue that doesn’t have much hope for a brighter future.
Where do I go from here??
I’ll stay on the trampoline and despite the continued pressure, I will keep hoping, keep praying, keep seeking some answers and keep waking up everyday.
My hope for you is the same. I can’t answer if things will get better or if your world will change, I can only offer the sentiment that you are not alone. Finding what makes you wake in the morning, what keeps you going and holding on to that for now, until things change. Answers are hard to come by, but my hope is that you will learn to hang on, to simply be in the moment, to find your why and search for “What is Next” in your journey.