Feverish musings of a sickly lifeguard.

Hey, so it’s been a bit since the last bloggy blog. You know how it is…Okay, maybe you don’t. So, I’ll tell you.

I had lifeguard training this week. As you can tell from the title, I passed. If I hadn’t I would have had to make fun of myself the entire summer. Can you imagine a waterfront director that failed lifeguard training? Me either. I was somewhat blessed to wake up at 7 AM everyday and travel with a squad of lifeguards to training. We left the pool between 2:30 and 5:30 depending on how much we acheived. We swam about a bit and sat through THRILLING videos from the American Red Cross (Note the sarcasm on THRILLING…The videos blew chunks.) Then we took some tests, everyone who passed is CPR, AED, Lifeguarding, and First Aid certified.  Roughly speaking this means that if you pass out at the pool and I’m on duty…I could keep you alive until EMS gets there. Assuming you don’t decide to die first. Make the right decision. Additional thoughts on lifeguarding class in bullet point form:

1) It’s nice to be certified and all that, but lifeguarding class takes a lot of time and energy.

2) My friend Colte and I make a good team on the pool. We saved several pretend drowners and kept several manikins alive until imaginary EMS arrived.

3) Being in the pool so much reminded me of swimteam. I was on varsity for 2 years in high school. I liked swimteam alot, but somethings just aren’t good for the soul. I became a mostly unpleasant person after every season. My friend John McCallen’s name is still on the board at the aquatic center for almost every event. He was good. Also, It’s nice to know that flip turns and the butterfly stroke are like riding a bicycle: you never forget how.

4) My friend Erin is one of my lifeguards. She goes to school with me. A fact I didn’t know until about 3 days ago. It’s weird when people avoid you to avoid the awkwardness of “I know you, but you don’t know me…” sorts of conversations. It’s really not that big of a deal. Anyhow, She’s very sassy. I think that the instructors may have been irritated by her. In any case she says “I hate…” alot. What I realized is that when she says “I hate…” she really means that “I dislike…” it’s good to know because for awhile there I thought she hated just about everything. Not the case. She just is very open with her dislikes. She may not have had to actually take the class, but she did anyway…She told me that she hated me for awhile, then she ended up telling me that I was great. So, I count that as a high five worthy story.

5) Lifeguarding class made me sick. That’s why the title says “sickly lifeguard”. I’m still sick.

That’s right. SICK. I woke up for the last day of class not really having slept. I went to class the day before, played a game of croquet with the other Leadership Personell (LP for short…Sometimes you can make the “LPness” joke. Tee hee. Yes, I know I’m five.) then I went to bed only to have feverish dreams all night about lifeguarding. I was more or less in class for about 15 hours that day. Booo. When I woke up I had a fever and most of me was achy. Erin gave me an aleve which killed the fever, but I had to do my lifeguard drill exams. So I was in the cold water all day being active. When I got home for dinner with my parents that night I was way sick. I decided I shouldn’t drive back to camp until the following morning.

Sleep came free of charge with more feverish and sweaty dreams. Then I got up and drove back to camp. We had staff meeting. I made my first announcement about people following the rules of the waterfront for their campers’ sakes and made a verbal high five to lifeguards. I was ( and still am) unshaven and bedraggled.

Tangent to descibe the symptoms. It’s as though someone put a cat half way down my throat, let it scratch about and then pulled it out. Not too much scratching, or really too deep. So let’s change cat to kitten. Then add a really congested nose area, a cough that produces ugly greenish brown gunk, and a general dizziness/weariness that makes me mostly unable to walk far distances. THE SHAFT. No, not the African American Action Hero. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0162650/ (FYI)

Back to the story. After staff meeting I slept until lunch. (about three hours). Then I woke up and ate tomato soup for lunch. Served with the tomato soup is the despicable Camp Firwood grilled cheese sandwich. “Boo!”, said the crowd. The cook hates it too. Hats off to Larry. No, not the song. It was a great tune though. Check it out. Oh, Del Shannon. I never knew your name until now. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk_FR3341bA&feature=related

After lunch I slept until about 4:30 (that’s another 3 hours). I stayed awake until 7:30 and slept until 7ish this morning. Total sleep count for yesterday: Approximately 18 hours. Am I still feeling sick? Yes. Even after the 3 hour nap I took when I got home. Hopefully another 8-10 hours of sleep ought to win me some sort of “I am healed” award.

That’s what’s up with lifeguarding class and sickness. What about camp, you ask? Well. It feels odd being gone most of the day. I really don’t get much of a chance to meet kids or hang out with my lifeguards who didn’t take the class with me. In addition to this I feel distant from the other LPs at camp. I’m not sharing the same experience as them and thus feel a bit like the outsider. I guess that this may change as this next week there is no class (praise the Lord.), but it felt odd all week. Especially when we had our BBQ as LPs and I had no time to go purchase any meat to cook…Yet, the generosity of my friends bailed me out. I ate food.

Speaking of food, there’s another part of camp that I mostly dispise. I really dislike the food at camp. It’s not Larry’s fault. It’s cooked well. It’s just that iceberg lettuce and evil scalloped potatoes aren’t my cup of tea. I’ll solve the problem someday. 

What’s new with the girl you ask? Well, I haven’t spoken much to her the past couple days since I’ve been sick. Sigh. I assume she’s doing well, I’m going to call her tonight. She didn’t come visit today because I’m sick…Arrg. Stupid sickness. I really wouldn’t have been a great host anyway, it’s probably better that she sat this one out.

There’s a strange phenomenon that happens at camp. I lose perspective on life outside camp. I don’t know why, but I suddenly am wracked with confusing doubts about my feelings and decisions in our over-the-phone relationship at camp. I overthink things (as usual). I become paranoid about my feelings. The lovely girl ended up telling me “not to stress out.” I took her advice. I also took a bit of my own. I won’t make decisions for outside of camp while I am at camp. Camp Chauncey seems to not have a great idea of what he wants. The outside-camp Chauncey does. This seems to be a common sort of thing with all my friends who are dating people at camp. Odd? Yes. Comforting to know though, that other people experience the same thing. So it doesn’t make me into a crazy jackass.

After coming through this journey of stress and lifeguarding and illness, I think it all might work out just fine. Deep sigh of relief.

That’s life, now for some thinking.

I miss time with Jesus. I had this great plan for getting up early and going kayaking and talking to the Lord and listening to what he had to say….but then I woke up early to drive lifeguards into class…for 2 weeks straight. RAWR. Anyhow, pondering time.

At camp Firwood we have a few things in our policy manual that bother me. Things that my friend Kile Petersen said, “You’re gonna love seminary.” when I brought them up to him. Firstly, our policy manual states that the bible is infalliable. This means without error. I don’t agree. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that it’s full with error or that key things are in error. For example, without the resurrection happening, our faith is pointless. Fact. But, I wonder about other things. Let’s ponder something.

The bible is in many ways the story of God’s people, right? I think so. In the story of God’s people how many things have gone perfectly the way God wanted them to? Only the ones where Jesus did stuff himself. His life, death, and resurrection. His second coming. Everything else, while Jesus has been working through humans has been good and the kingdom’s work has been done has been a bit of a gong show at times. As imperfect human beings we make mistakes, lots of times. Examples? David and Bathsheba. Solomon. The apostle Peter and his segregationist attitudes towards the Jerusalem church. Annanais and Saphira in acts. The church in Corinth. There are a bunch of examples of God working through human imperfection to achieve awesome things to his glory. We acknowledge this to be true. Why does the bible need to be different?

It seems to me that if imperfect people were putting together the Kanon (greek for measuring stick) that is our bible today almost a thousand years ago…they may have done it imperfectly. Despite being led by the Holy Spirit. Let’s face it, we tend (I say tend because of Enoch’s odd dissapearance in Genesis) to be imperfect until we are resurrected into life with Christ. My question is why aren’t some of us okay with the bible being an imperfect and simultaneously divinely inspired document? God is perfect. I agree. Does everything turn out how He wants it to? No. Does God work perfectly through imperfect vessels? I don’t think so. He does AMAZING things! but are they perfect things?

What are some of the errors then? you might ask..well for one the numerical accounts in the Old Testament. Not all of them mind you. Example in paraphrased inaccurate form: Did king David’s army really kill how many people scripture records? Was it exactly x amount of philistines? Does it need to be? Another example: Did Samson really tie the tails of foxes together and put a torch at the end and light villages on fire? Not to say it’s not possible, but is it a literary device to get accross how much of a badass he was or an exactly tally of the number of foxes he caught? That’s two, but I don’t have oodles of examples here, I guess the main point of this whole discourse was to assert my being okay with the bible not being infalliable.

NOW, it is possible to take this too far. That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. I don’t think it’s okay to decide something to be an error just because you don’t happen to like it. If God says “Don’t steal” in Deuteronomy and you say “Well, I want to steal. Chauncey says the bible’s not infalliable so I’ll just call this part an error and do what I want.” then you’re dumb.

My point is not to invalidate scripture so that it fits several people’s lazy ideas of what it means to read the bible and hear the word of God. The only time you should ever make the call unilaterally is with a congregation (See Acts and the requirements for Gentiles to be Christians). You and A GROUP of people IN YOUR FAITH COMMUNITY, meaning more than just your friends, get together and pray and fast and make sure that the Holy Spirit is leading you in a direction other than what scripture says. This is the only way to not just decide on things that may not apply anymore in a willy nilly fashion.

Okay that’s one pondering. The other is that in our manual is states that we should make quiet times a priority. I agree, however the tone in the manual makes it sound like a required task. I think that time with the Lord is so much more than that. Should we be doing it for the wrong reasons? Maybe we should talk/listen to God because we want to, not just because it’s necessary. It seems to me that God is really big on motives. God isn’t utilitarian. Ends don’t justify the means for the people of God. So if we pray for our personal and ministerial benefit and not out of a desire for a better relationship with the Lord…are we doing it the wrong way? Can’t we do both at once? I think we can.

See? I might be a shoe-in for seminary with the way I can make a huge discourse over 2 sentences. Hurrah! Leave comments if you like. I may respond. Or I may not.

Some more fun things from camp

It’s nigh on Friday. That means it’s almost friday. I have a burn on my thumb. It’s my fault, I touched the burning log…no. Not poop. Fire.

Here’s how the day mostly went as I remember it. I woke up early again, lifeguard time again.

Time out. Yesterday we did all sorts of team building shenanegins up at the challenge course. This year I was a facilitator who stood in a tree 30 feet of the ground and told groups “Permission to transfer granted.” Last year I was in the groups trying to meet people and get to know them as a counselor, this year I was the leader-type guy who helped other people do that.

It’s weird, my job seems to blend into the background really well. I guess I don’t mind, but at the same time sometimes as the waterfront director (who doesn’t have anything to do without people using the waterfront) I feel so out of the loop at camp. I’m here. I’m on staff, but am I really a part of everything? I help people do something I think. I think I am a part of counselors showing Christ to kids, but what part exactly? It doesn’t feel like a huge part. It’s not that I need a huge part, it’s just that I want to be used by the Lord. I don’t want to feel lazy and selfish.

After that time yesterday we leadership folk met and prayed for our team. We prayed for everyone. There’s a whole lot riding on this summer in the sense of kids meeting the Lord. Big stuff. Pray for us. Especially the counselors. They’re going to need it.

I had a great conversation with a somewhat-more-than-friend of mine last night. It lasted somewhat later than I had expected, but nonetheless…some things are more important than sleep. Talking to her is like that.

It’s odd, especially considering that all this some-what-more-than-friends deal started happening while I’m at camp. She’s not here, but we’re going for it anyway. (No, I’m not giving you anymore details than this. I share what I choose to.) I suppose some people might think this is dumb. Long distance at camp, you ask? Well, yes. My mom and I had a conversation once where I told her that I didn’t feel like dating any girls because I didn’t see the point. I was going on study abroad, I said. I was going to camp, I said. My mom replied with “Chauncey, there’s always going to be something.” She was right. If I don’t take what I am blessed with when I am blessed with it I think I could label myself an idiot.

It’s an odd lately though, because for the first time in my short and messy history of dating and trying to date girls I have my priorities in order. I’m trying to put Jesus first. I doubt I was before. Also I find myself being able to say and believe that I am valuable apart from her. What this means is that I don’t need her quite as much as I needed any other girl, I like her more than the others…but I need her less and need Jesus more. Does that make sense? I hope so…she’ll probably read this…Long story short: she’s great, I’m excited, and I wish she was here. Since she’s not I imagine we’ll have to try and manage longish distance communication. Seattle area to Bellingham isn’t that bad though. It could be worse. She could have been imaginary.

Seriously. She’s not though.

Anyhow that’s enough of that. Time for today. Like I said I got up early. I then sat in on a lecture we hear every year about child molestation and whatnot. It’s dark business. Important topic for a summer camp that works with kids, but it hurts my soul that it’s a conversation we have to have. The world is a dark place when you hear detectives talk about things like that. A friend of mine named Dr.Jeff Keuss has a facebook religion status that reads “Kicking at the darkness until it bleeds daylight.” I like to think that this is what we’re doing with kids here. Kicking at the darkness that is in their life with the love of Jesus. Go team Jesus.

Okay. So it’s time for bed now. BUT I’ll tell you the rest of the day in several sentences. Studied for test. 2 hours. Looked at facebook profile of girl to see her face. It was nice. LP dinner night up at the challenge course. Good foil dinner. Then I blogged. THe end.

Bloggin at camp

I’m at camp now. It makes me wicked tired. But it’s still pretty funtastic. Here’s how it breaks down.

I get up around 7AM to drive lifeguards to lifeguard training. I am the waterfront director and as such lifeguards are one of my responsibilities. I like my lifeguards a lot. They’re pretty funny. Yesterday was their first day. They woke up at an evil hour, went quietly to the pool, and stayed there until 5:15. That’s when I got there for them to come back to camp. When they got in the van they were all giggly and chatty as though they had bonded in the midst of the most fun ever. I think they may have irritated one of their instructors. I guess it’ll be okay.

I had to give a talkie sort of thing about the waterfront and safety and whatnot. My goal was to be halfway a fun person and a halfway hard-core safety person. I think it worked. People laughed, but other times they were quiet because I used a serious voice and talked about things that they shouldn’t dick around with. Funny moment: We as life guards have to do something called “bottom checks”. I giggle, you giggle. Then we learn what bottom checks really are…When we check the bottom of the lake for drowning/drowned people. It’s actually a serious matter. Sigh, that being said it is a thoroughly giggle-worthy name.

I have been studying for my medical interpreter certification test. I’m in the process of compiling a great list of vocabulary words. The state issued me a biggish list in english and I am turning them into spanish. Words like “colonoscopy” or “sputum” become spanish equivalents that I haven’t found yet. RAAAR!!!

Okay, I’ve gotta go take a shower now. Kids aren’t here yet, just staff types. I’ve been up for 3 hours right now. It’s gonna be a big day.

Hey everyone.

So, in T minus 3 hours I’ll be at camp firwood. That means there will be less frequent posts. You’ll have to rough it out. I’m ready for camp. Last night I wasn’t, but now I think I am. Deep breath and then go team.

Strange thing happened. I think a friend of mine died. I really am not sure. I joined a facebook group that was made for the purpose of remembering a man named Patrick Hickey. I didn’t hear anything other than that. I joined it thinking that it was a joke since I did know that he moved home. Although, it’s a fairly elaborate hoax if it’s not real. I remain unsure if he’s really gone. Still, I feel that it’s appropriate to tell you about him.

I knew the man. He and I went to NCMSLC together. That stands for National Christian Multicultural Student Leadership Conference. That conference was (for lack of a better word) kinda crappy. Patrick and I stayed in the same room. We both went to the crappy cafeteria at Anderson University. (Never go there. They have nice people, but it’s a desolate wasteland of a town). We hung out a lot. He had some great insights. He was kind. He was also frikkin’ hilarious. He had this quiet and dry sort of humor that forced you to listen to get his jokes. But when you did they were great. He and I and John Hyde were very good at being skeptical during the whole process. I vented to him quite a bit. He was gracious enough to allow it.

Patrick had dreadlocks. They were bomb. He also dressed in a manner that said, “These are just clothes.” He wore them. I appreciated that. In general I appreciated Patrick. He lived on my friend Tim’s floor and I thought, “man, it must be amazing to have a resident like him.” Seriously, he was a great man. I was impacted by what little of his life I was blessed to have shared. I won’t forget Patrick.

Strangely enough, this is the second time someone has died at the beginning of camp. Last summer it was my good friend and neighbor Malcolm Dyer. I’m still feeling that one. He was an amazing man. I knew him my whole life. Now, at the beginning of this summer we lose Patrick. I am really do not like the trend.

I’m going to a BBQ now, then it’s time for camp. I’m sorry to have brought you down if that’s what I did. In all honesty though, life isn’t always puppies and candycanes. Sometimes it’s really shitty and we lose people we care about. The thing I’ve learned about all this is that you’ve got to let yourself hurt. No matter how much it hurts. Take the time you need to experience your own suffering. Blocking it out just disrespects the dead. The end of their impact on your life is worth mourning.

 

A Fond Fairwell to West Seattle

This is almost the end of my stay here in the lovely city of Seattle. It is at this juncture in the year that I would like to take a moment to thank the lovely city of Seattle and its continuous supply of awesome. Also, I’d like to point out something for everyone: West Seattle is the bomb. Really. I mean it. Amazing water. Good food. Useful classes in bleak, overly warm rooms. Okay, mostly the first two. By the water I mean the puuge. Alki beach is a great place to swim and the sound regularly leaves me astounded by the glory of the creation of the Lord. There are also oodles of trees that make the whole place have this aura of greenish wonder. If Jesus were to ask me what I thought of West Seattle, I’d say “Well done Lord.” which He would hopefully respond to with a kind “I know.”

I finished my medical interpreter class today. It was about time. 40 hours is a long time for class. 8 hours a day almost starts to kill a man (and his back too, those chairs are not made for tall people). There was some tension in the class today between the woman teaching and a few of the fiesty Latina women in the class. You could cut it with a knife. It was uncomfortable. You know the feeling when someone is offended and then withdraws from the conversation? That was it. That lasted almost the whole day.

We ended the class by taking a test (which I think I did well on) and then we did a fairwell exercise with a ball of yarn. Closing thoughts on class are bulleted:

1) Having class was great. I learned a whole lot of useful things that will make me a better interpreter someday. I also met some bomb people and made lots of networking ties. People dropped sentences like, “Maybe you’ll be working for me someday.” and “You should work with this airline I work for, we’re looking for bilingual people like you.” There were so many wonderful and professional people there. I was really impressed and blessed at the same time. So much wisdom. I got to learn from it.

2) It was a blast to hang out with so many people who spoke Spanish. We went out for drinks tonight. I say drinks, but allow me to clarify. They got drinks, I got water. I’ll talk about that later. Anyway, we went to this Mexican restaurant and hung out afterwards about 15 spanish speaking folks, a couple korean women, and a russian woman. It was one of the coolest experiences ever. The entire table was talking in multiple languages. We drifted in and out of spanish, we asked the korean women about food and pronunciation. It was amazing. I took a moment at this table to realize that the people there were primarily hispanic and for one of the first times in my life I felt like I belonged with them. I didn’t feel like an outsider who didn’t understand what was being said. Mind you, I’m not perfect…but just having that little piece of belonging made me feel great.

3) I got multiple offers for lodging and food in the Midwest. Specifically Wisconsin. If I ever make it over there, my friend Sonia says she has a room for me and all the mexican food I can eat. That sounds pretty frikkin awesome. Again, allow me to make the point that this was probably one of the best groups of people that I’ve ever randomly taken class with.

Okay, let’s take a tangent. I mentioned that although everyone else got drinks, I got water. Why did I do this, you ask? This is why. I signed an agreement several years ago saying that I not drink alcohol outside of “family traditions”. It’s part of the SPU Lifestyle expectations agreement. Which I will comply with. There may be some boos and hisses from the crowd at this point. This is my reasoning. My friend Daniel Lowndes asked me once what I thought my word meant. He asked me if I thought it was important to me to do what I said I would. I answered yes. That’s stuck with me until this point. Follow through is a key part of life. It’s also a key part of life with Jesus. We’ve gotta do what needs to be done. 

Thus I don’t drink outside of “family traditions”. There you have it. Some people argue the “What does it matter?” line or the “it’s not biblical.” line.

I’ll take the “it’s not biblical” one first. Jay walking isn’t biblical, and yet we all acknowledge the importance of crossing the street in a manner that allows you to not be in danger form automobiles. You do a lot of things that aren’t necessarily biblical. Why moan about this one? Is it because you want to do what you want to do, despite agreements you’ve made? Western individualistic society getting to you? I think so.

Next point the “what does it matter?” point. My answer to this came from today. I didn’t get a drink at drink time. The people in my class asked me about it. I said that I was going to do what I said I would do, regardless of how fun it was (it was not more fun). Everyone at the table who heard this said things like, “That’s really impressive.” and “Not a lot of kids your age would do that.” They were impressed by the integrity that this showed. I’m not trying to toot my own horn here. I’m not that great of a person. HOWEVER, I am trying to show you that integrity matters. The lovely people from my class have more respect for me and for my beliefs as a result of something as simple as not ordering a margarita because I said I wouldn’t. I think that matters.

I came back to the house after “drink” time. That water…got me a bit tipsy. Oh my. Nope. Just kidding. I had to pee. That was all.

I hung out after that with my friends Cate and Leah. I’m in bible study with them. They’re great. We had dinner and it was nice. Afterwards Cate and I watched “Hot Fuzz”. Great film. Really funny. Even the 4th time. I ended up having pleasant conversation with Cate until about 11 and then I came back. I learned something interesting (other than the fact that I appreciate Cate). I have people who watch out for me. Cate told me a story that I’d never heard about how a couple friends of mine talked to a girl I know about how she should be careful of sending me the wrong signals. I thought about being mad, but then I realized that these people were watching my back. They’re guys who are older than me. The way Cate told me the story it seemed like they were watching out for their little brother. That made me chuckle. It’s nice to have people who care about you. Especially when they act like it.

The last few days I’ve been texting a lot. I’ve been talking to my friend Jess during class practically the whole day. I have enjoyed it. It’s nice having a cell phone. I didn’t have one until the beginning of this year. As much as I hate to admit it, they are very convenient. I can make calls whereever I go. I can talk to friends without interrupting class. I can even get pictures of the ocean in San Diego (thanks Jess. I think I probably get charged more for that. You better enjoy the sun. It was dark and cold today). Cell phones are pretty useful inventions. Several years ago I would have said something entirely different. Now, I’m a fan. High five to verizon wireless.

That’s about it really. I start camp on Sunday. I hope that it’s good. I really don’t know what to expect this year. Maybe I’m just old and jaded. Or maybe I just need the break that camp is going to be. We’ll see. In any case I am leaving Seattle tomorrow and I would like to once more bid a fond farewell to West Seattle. It’s been my home this last week and it’s been grand.

 

PS: Also, I’d like to thank Wayne and his parents for putting me up in their home. In case they ever read the blog, it was a blessing.

61 posts. Still going.

I’m staying with my friend Wayne. Just in case you were wondering. I expected to be sleeping on the floor in his house being uncomfortable. I was dead wrong. I have in fact been blessed with a room and a bed. Blessings from the Lord I say. I hope you agree.

A further blessing from the Lord comes in the form of the view from Wayne’s house. I get to see the sun on the Puuge every day. As I hope you know, large bodies of water are some of my favorite things ever. So in summary, I sleep well and moreover the house in which I sleep has a sick view and some awesome people.

I think I mentioned that I’m taking a class in West Seattle. It’s a medical interpreter’s class. If I haven’t said anything before about it I would say to you that if you want to be an interpreter, you should take this class. I think I would have been destroyed if I hadn’t taken this class. I would have been caught in some random situation that I wouldn’t have known what to do and then I would have got fired. Well, no longer. I am learning real things of a valuable and applicable nature. Not only theory, but also application. MMMM. That’s well worth the money.

Another cool thing about class is that I get to hang out in a room filled with people who speak spanish. I like hanging out with other hispanic people. We’re pretty fun. I get to chat with them and they laugh at my jokes and the overall atmosphere in the class is great. It’s actually very fun to be in class. We do activities and they are all very flexible with my lack of vocabulary mastery. It’s a good thing.

More to follow. One thing I’m thinking about is how do I articulate my beliefs to people outside a christian context. I told one girl in my class that I was thinking about going to seminary. She didn’t know what that was. Never had that happen before. I think that I somewhat failed to explain it accurately. Nonetheless, she seemed supportive. We also talked about our past relationships. It occured to me that forgiveness may not be something everyone else thinks is worthwhile. I suppose we’ll just have to live it so they can see it. Maybe they’ll catch on.