Friday, December 21, 2007

Immature Thinking, Part 3 "Flopsy Mopsy"

"For the waywardness of the naive shall kill them, and the complacency of fools shall destroy them." Proverbs 1:32, NASB

In my previous post, I talked about my initial attempts to persuade my parents to do some things on my own which involved, primarily, to get the heck out of town. They went through a process of questioning, listening to my answers and then thinking about it a few days before they gave an answer. It was a good strategy. First, they avoided an arguement with me right then and there. Second, they could spend a few days laughing about it behind my back "She wants to do what? With whom???" Third, it gave me a chance to realize how crazy a plan I was hatching and come to my senses (never happened). And fourth, and most importantly, it gave my parents time to gather intel from other parents, siblings who wanted to do me in and any other information floating out there along the grapevine. To see if I was telling them the truth or if I really that naive.

The Spokane concert to see the great Maynard Fergueson, whom I heard could hit really high notes on his trumpet was not a bad thing. It's just that my best friend, Karen and I were not the sharpest blades in the drawer. And according to Karen and Sheila's mom, as Karen overheard it, with Sheila along it was a matter of the "blind leading the blind." Sheila was not on good terms at that time with her parent's authority. And my parent's heard from a "little bird" that I was developing a big crush on the lead trumpeter in our stage band, so my ardent desire for live jazz was driven by my hormones. Since I was not forthcoming on that bit of personal information, it was a huge strike against me. For our own sakes and for our parents' peace of mind, we stayed home. Later, Doug, my big crush, told me it was an awesome concert. I really should have gone. I was mad for weeks.

As for the camping trip later, it's a longer story. Laurie, the 20 year old camp counselor, had been writing me for several months after summer camp was over. She was writing to all her campers So was her co-counselor, Joan. I was very attached to Laurie and Joan, they were my big sisters that I never had. Through their weekly letters, I read about their college studies, their love of the outdoors, animals and freedom. Because of my blind devotion to them, they could do no wrong in my eyes. I overlooked and had forgotten that they smoked pot once at camp, caught by other campers who knew what they were smelling and followed their noses. When they were caught, they let the one of older campers join in. I heard about it later, and finally, Laurie and Joan asked us older campers to not say anything, because they and the directors could get fired or the camp could be closed. This is where complacency comes in, of knowing the right thing, but not heeding it or doing anything about it.

Naivete came in when I thought that all their letters to me were about caring for me and for the other campers. Laurie and Joan knew my younger sister, but she only got one letter from them after camp. The letter writing campaign was about keeping us campers that knew their secret loyal to them, it was about manipulation. What my parents did not know when they decided to not let me go camping with Laurie was that there was an investigation underway about the camp. Apparently, Laurie and Joan were under suspicion, and a few months later, were told that they lost their summer jobs. They had worked at the Girl Scout camp for several years and it was a huge blow to them. The director, who lived 17 miles away from me, also lost her job after working there for 20 years.

Around that time when Joan and Laurie were given pink slips, Joan was in town and offered to visit. She and her room mate wanted to go to take me to see the director who lived about a half hour away. I asked Mom, who left it up to me. So, I went, not knowing that Joan had lost her job at the camp until we were at the director's house. On the trip there, Joan lit up a roach and asked me to steer while she did it. Finally, her room mate asked her to pull over and let her drive, so Joan sat in the back of the VW bug, getting high. I was confused when we got to our destination because all Joan wanted to do was take a nap when the director told her that she wouldn't be returning to the camp. It was a quiet ride home. Joan asked me if I had told my parents anything about last summer. I had not. But it didn't occur to me at the time that that had anything to do with anything related to Joan's job security.

I didn't write either Joan and Laurie again. The hero worship came to an abrupt halt. Mom noticed my fan mail had fallen off and asked me about it. I told her that Joan turned out to be a complete pot head, and that I wasn't interested in staying in touch anymore. I didn't know it, but that comment went huge in my favor in Mom's eyes. When Mom met Joan when she came to pick me up, she saw a guilty look on her face that she didn't understand. Mom told me later that she thought Joan had a secret to hide, and her first thought was that she was gay and possibly attached to me. Which explained all the letters. But I think it was about trying to hold on to her summer job, and fear that my Mom (active in Scouting except for outdoorsy things) was the one responsible for whistle blowing. Truth is, Mom was in the dark about all that.

I did get a letter from another camper that year. She was thinking about smoking pot, just to experiment with a friend and asked what I thought. I said absolutely not. My Mom happened to take me shopping in my fellow camper's hometown and we met for a few hours. I asked her if she started drugs and she said that she tried. It was great. She was 15, and although she didn't smoke pot at camp, I wondered if the counselors' influence had an effect on her. I made her promise to think for herself and resist any pressure to participate. She promised and I found out later, kept it. I told Mom about my meeting with my camping friend and what we talked about. That also put me in good standing with my parents. I was showing that I was leaning towards maturity. I'm sure that they were relieved--for awhile, they didn't know which way I would choose to go. At that age, I was considered "flopsy mopsy" for a long time.

I did go to summer camp the next year with my old group from the last year. We didn't talk much and cried a little about not seeing the old staff. (We still didn't get it) The new staff was great and one of them had a book written by a young Christian woman that held my attention and got me thinking about God in a way I never did before. Six months later, at Christmas, I began to go in a more personal direction with God that I had not thought was possible before I read the counselor's book.

As of now, I don't know what became of everyone I camped with. I did run into the Christian counselor at WSU three years later. I was a sophmore and she was in grad school. She really had a hard time remembering me and the book she brought with her that summer. She said that she brought the smallest book she could because we were going backpacking and it was the right size, not because anyone was trying to witness to us. But she was glad that it helped me.

So, not only did I learn about good thinking through my parents. I learned that my parents had wisdom and understanding that I had not possessed because they were older and experienced. I learned how not to complacently put my trust in someone like Laurie or Sheila or Doug and naively follow them around. My parents did not have all the information, but they followed their instincts, honed by their maturity, to guide me away from trouble since I had no such instincts of my own. And I was able to be open towards good and not evil, which is something I still don't understand how it happened. In this world, the odds are pretty much stacked against the naive.

As Christians, we still have to watch out for complacency and naivete. Our judgement could be severely compromised by our emotions and hormones. And the beginning of wisdom is the fear of God. What will we gain by fearing God? I think a lot, according to the Bible:

"My son (daughter), if you will recieve my sayings,
And treasure my commandments within you,
Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will discern the fear of the Lord
And discover the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a sheild to those who walk in integrity,
Guarding the paths of justice,
And He preserves the way of His godly ones.
Then you will discern righteousness and justice
And equity and every good course.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
Discretion will guard you,
Understanding will watch over you,
To deliver you from the way of evil,
From the man who speaks perverse things;"
---Proverbs 2:1-11

No comments: