Sorry for the delay in posting report #3 . . . it's been busy!
This past week, I was assigned the relief chaplain rotation. In other words, I covered 6 of the different chaplain rotations, in the process allowing the other chaplains to have some time off. A lot of what I learned the first two weeks here came into play this past week, as I made several trips into the back country to notify advisors, campers or staff about family situations back home.
Yesterday I was assigned to travel out to the Saw Mill camp on the far west border of Philmont, to share with an advisor and his son that their father/grandfather was near death. It was a very emotional time for them, and for the members of their crew, as they were only half way into their 12 day trek. Their crew rallied around them, and they decided to hike on until they received additional word from their family.
I guess it's one thing when your pastor arrives to tell you something potentially uncomfortable. And it can be another thing when a stranger walks into the room to share the same information with you. It is amazing to me, that most everyone here recognizes that the Philmont Chaplains are "their" pastors while they are here. It feels good in my heart and soul to make that kind of connection with people here, just as I have made connections with the good folks who make up the FUMC-Grapevine congregation.
To tell you the truth . . . I am enjoying it here in New Mexico. However, I truly miss my church family and church staff family.
I miss all MY family.
This coming week, I will be the chaplain assigned to the back country of Philmont. I will be charged with visiting as many of the back country staff camps as I can, driving to each in the Philmont Chevy Suburban that was assigned to me. I am glad this is the assignment for my final week, as I have been making lots of notes on my map, and feel pretty confident now that I won't get lost driving around in the mountains on single lane dirt/rock/and mud roads.
FYI - I loooooooooove 4-wheel drive!
Another FYI - if you ever have a chance to purchase a used Philmont Suburban at auction . . . DON"T BUY IT!
The vehicle, I promise you . . . is plain wore out!!!! After 75,000 miles of 4-wheel drive mountain travel, they are on their last legs. I feel very safe and confident in the one I have been driving.
But it's only a couple of years old.
Yesterday I drove about 94 miles, visiting 4 camps, delivering the message I wrote about above, carrying an ill advisor back to the Health Lodge at Camping Headquarters for assessment, and finally getting to drive to the northern part of Philmont to visit the Ponil and Rich Cabins staff camps.
And, I still managed to walk over 14,000 steps (about 8 miles). I'm not sure how much weight I have lost (not as much as I would have hoped for I'm sure), but I have got some decent walking legs under me now. I am going to really try to keep up walking after I get home.
Besides working in the back country this next week, I will be preaching 3 more times, playing guitar and singing with the Philmont Wannabe Band at least two more times . . . and, starting to pack.
I came to Philmont with a list of things I wanted to have answers to . . . and after a week, that list of "wants" was complete rubbish. Instead, I come away with the knowledge of things I needed to come away with, instead of wanting to come away with.
First, based on life-long dreams and goals . . . I thought working at Philmont would be my dream job.
Now, for the record, I have enjoyed every minute of it. I've been doing inter-faith ministry every day, doing ministry the way I felt I was called to do it. Philmont is a place I would like to work, perhaps after I retire.
But the truth is, I leave Philmont next week understanding that my dream job is the one I have back in Grapevine, TX, serving on the pastoral staff of the FUMC-Grapevine, and singing when I can for Hugworks.
Too bad it took a month-long trip to New Mexico on renewal/mission leave to figure that out. But lessons learned are, in the end, what is most important.
Second, I come home with a very clear, and very short, list of my core-value driven priorities. In other words . . . I am saying "Yes" now to the things in life that matter the most to me . . . and saying "No" to the things that are not important to me.
In other words . . . I will come home with a very clear understanding of the many things that have a tendency to distract me. Hopefully my focus will be clear enough that I won't waste any more time on distractions . . . but focus more on the things I am passionate about . . . the things that I am good at doing . . . the things that play to my strengths and passions.
I'll probably publish my list of important things after I return home in August. It's on my to-do list.
One more week . . . then a week of vacation . . . then back home ready to hit the ground running.
I am ready to go home . . . back to my family . . . back to my dream job.
It's all good.
God's graces still amazes me . . . ><>