I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good—not only ours, but the whole world’s. 1 John 2:1-2 (The Message)
Vicki invited me to go with her to the Creative Felt and Glass Gathering in Michigan this month. Despite the timing being difficult for work, last week I flew to Detroit to meet up with Vicki and then, drive to Manchester, Michigan, for one week of classes on felting and glass with thirty other women from around the world. Shortly before we left, I discovered we would be living at a Lithuanian church camp. Immediately, I flashed back to my youth staying in dorms complete with bunk beds and communal showers. But, I remembered the friendships formed in those weeks, so decided to make the best of it, packed my linens and my shower shoes and headed off to “felt camp.” The camp was grimmer than I expected with two metal bunk beds and a cot with thin mattresses crammed into rooms the size of a walk in closet. A bare light bulb dimly illuminated the room. Electric plugs had only two prongs and circuits overloaded easily. Down the hall, two toilet stalls the width of a telephone booth and a single shower stall served each floor. The noise level made sleeping almost impossible. Warped doors did not fully close without slamming them. Footsteps on the metal staircase between floors sounded like elephants running in a thunderstorm. Add thirty women and one brave man enclosed in a small space with loud laughter and talking at all hours of the day and night and you have a henhouse. While the lack of sleep greatly contributed to my mood, the hardest part of the week was living without cell phones and Internet. To get cell service, you had to go to the parking lot on top of a hill and do a little dance to appease the wireless gods. Internet service was nonexistent except during certain times of the day in one small corner of the dorm where I could hold my laptop in front of a window. Now, we were definitely roughing it. For the most part, the classes were interesting and I learned a lot. Not as much about glass as it turned out there was only a half day of fusing and the rest was felting, but I made some pretty things and acquired some new techniques. Most importantly, I learned what I could live without and what was really important in life. On the hill above the dorm was a field of large, beautifully sculpted crosses. Our hostess explained that they were a reminder of the Soviet takeover of Lithuanian. When the Russian tanks rolled in, any crosses in the villages were removed by soldiers eager to spread communism. But, every time a cross was dismantled, the next morning, one hundred more stood in its place. For me, camp was a meager place, stripped of all I think I need to live. But, like those Lithuanians who endured much harsher treatment than I can ever imagine, there is only one thing I truly need. The cross of Christ.