After I “graduated” from the amazing, fabulous, life-changing summer camp journey of my youth, I moved on, as adult staff, to lots of church based summer camp adventures.
Most of those were amazing, fabulous, and life-changing, too! In different ways.
There were, however, challenges involved. I won’t bore you with all the details.
One big challenge, for me, though, was the week in Tennessee when we had a volunteer director obsessed with Trust Walks.
This notion presented two challenges for me, as Camp Nurse. First, I was supposed to helping people avoid injuries which is hard when lots of them are teens wandering around blind-folded.
Then there was the fact that I have trust issues. Big, historical ones with deep, deep roots. I tried. Really. I just couldn’t do the blindfolded bit with a virtual stranger.
Yesterday was a huge reminder of the challenge to trust. And there were moments when I kind of wished I had a blindfold!
Just mix a large bus with a winding, narrow, steep mountain road and a whole lot of places where I couldn’t see – you know – ground out the window!
We are on the way… to Montsegur, in the Pyrenees mountains of France! Shepherded, blessedly, by the amazing Jeremy, our driver.
As we wound our way up the mountain, it came to me in a flash… This whole place is about TRUST!
It’s about a lot of other things, too, but under them all, for me, lies trust.
I haven’t gotten all the exact historical stories down just yet. For now let us pause and consider that…
In the year 1244, hundreds of Cathar people, also known as the Pure Ones, walked into the burning fires at Montsegur, after bravely saving their most precious prophesies and sacred stories, and some of their children, these believers in God and Jesus and Mary Magdalene, gave their lives rather than repent their Christian faith.
The siege had been long and terrible armies, commanded by Pope Innocent III, killed hundreds upon hundreds of the faithful for not believing exactly as he proclaimed they must.
We began our time in Montsegur beneath a spreading laurel tree… a sacred place for remembering. And, for me, for renewing my promise to trust what is Divine Creator for me.
I wasn’t able to manage the walk up the mountain. (Well, my wise leader-sisters who’d made the climb before suggested that while I might make it up, down would have been a whole other issue! And, yes… I have more work to do!)
Instead, we stayed long beneath the laurel tree, relishing the shade and the stories.
There were questions, as well.
How, Kathleen McGowan asked, did we feel called to live out of trust in our faith… in this word, now?
It’s a power-full and em-power-ing question! Perhaps it has been so, always. I am certain that it is so, now.
Later, after our sisters returned from the climb, we visited Notre Dame de Montsegur, a 13th century church. The artwork was stunning. Among my favorites…
A nearly life-sized Black Madonna created specifically for Montsegur and unique because she is a part of the church building, permanently installed.
And a replica of Notre Dame de Montserrat, who brings up a whole lot of stories for another time…
For now, it is late… well, here it is! And tomorrow is the beginning of the long path home. So, I’ll press a few more buttons and trust that the elves will do what I pay them for and deliver this peek into my heart to you.
And I’ll hope that you’ll share what bubbles forth in you as you read along.
ps… yes! I do have some new medicine for my basket! Stay tuned!!!
pps… what do you see???