Making Memories Out Of Messes

A lesson learned from a father/son camping trip gone wrong

For nearly six months, my son had been begging me to take him camping.  We had enjoyed a great father/son campout with our church the year before that he absolutely loved, so when he found out that we wouldn’t be doing one that coming summer, he was pretty disappointed to say the least.

So, we scheduled a time for us to go by ourselves and camp out.  We planned it all out and got things ready to go – tent, hotdogs, marshmallows, and all the good stuff.  This camping trip was sure to be the trip of a lifetime.  My son was pumped, and even though I’m not an avid camper, I was even looking forward to it as well.

The day finally came, and from between the time to we left the house and the time we reached the campground, a huge storm had started brewing.  By the time we arrived to set up camp, it was pouring down rain with wind gusting like I hadn’t seen in a very long time. There was no way we were going to be able to set up camp, and I was more than ready to turn around and go home.

But to my 10 year old son, all of the wind, the rain, and thunder was nothing but pettiness to him, and certainly nothing worth abandoning our camping trip for.

So… we stayed, and set up our “2 man” tent (I think it was more like a 2 ‘kid’ tent as small as it was) in the pouring rain.   Thankfully, after a while, the rain subsided, and we were able to get a fire going and start roasting some hot dogs.  However, that didn’t last long.  As we were finishing roasting our dogs over the fire, the rains came down, and the floods came up.

We hurried into our little tent, and started snacking on our goodies we had brought.  However, the rain was pouring so hard, that is started leaking through the the tent’s roof as well as coming up through the floor, getting us all wet. There was no way that we were going to be able to sleep either comfortably or dry in the tent through the night.

Without much of any other options, we set up camp in the front seats of my truck… and ended up sleeping there for the entire rest of the night as the rains continued.  It had to have been one of the longest nights I can ever remember.  My back was killing me (you know exactly what I mean if you’ve ever tried to get an entire nights sleep in the reclining seat of a car).

However, the next morning, we woke up to the sun brightly shining and we enjoyed the day together cooking breakfast, hiking, playing football, and just having a great time.

As much as I disliked so many parts of our camping trip, and in many ways, it seemed to be a terribly huge fail… guess what is one of my sons’ favorite memories that he still talks about more than any other?  Yep, you got it – “that one time we went camping and everything went wrong.”

Despite the mess of the entire situation, it became one of my sons’ fondest memories.

Here’s something that I learned that day…

“You can make the most of your messes, or your messes can get the best of you.”

Looking back, I’m thankful that I didn’t allow the temporary inconveniences to keep me from making life-long memories.

What messes are you facing in your life or family today, and in what ways can you turn them into memories for your family through your perspective of those messes?

Nothing happens in our lives by accident.  There is a grand master plan and a lesson to be learned through every circumstance and difficulty of life, if we’ll just look for it.

God speaks through life’s messy situations. So don’t miss the message in your mess.

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