The Easy Life or the Good Life?

After attending the GS Winter Vacation with her community, Miranda writes, "As I reflect, I can honestly say it was God because there was Something there that brought all of us together."

A question we’ve been dealing with in School of Community lately has been that of living the good life versus the easy life. I recently experienced this first hand when I went on the GS Miami Winter Vacation. We were a group of students from Miami and a group of students from Tampa. We went camping in St. Petersburg in central Florida. I decided I wanted to go on the camping trip because I had never gone camping before and some of my friends from School of Community were going. Going into the camping trip, though, I was getting terrified. I was the only Freshman, I didn't like the outdoors, I was super asthmatic, and the weather was supposed to be very windy and very cold. So, I already knew that all these things could go wrong, but I still went. When we arrived, we met up with the kids from Tampa. They were complete strangers to us, and to make matters worse, we had to share tents with these “strangers.” The trip was also a lot of work. We were expected to put up our own tents which was extremely difficult considering the fact that I had never even touched a tent in my whole life. We finally put them up, but on the second night it was going to rain a lot, so we had to take all our things out of our tents and put them into Mrs. Smith's cabin and take the tents back down. We ended up sleeping in cabins because the storm was so bad. We then woke up the next morning and had to put our tents back up, dry them, get all of our stuff from Mrs. Smith's cabin and put it all back into our tents. We also had to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And then we had to clean up after breakfast, lunch and dinner. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but I honestly didn't feel like it was work because of the people around me.

On that camping trip, I felt like God was there because I made so many friendships that I would have never made on my own. It was Something more that connected us, and that Something more is God. I didn't realize it while I was there, but now looking back I can see how God was present in everything we did. It is so beautiful because now all the kids that went from my school get together often because of what we all shared. Despite all these hardships--being asthmatic, the rain, the wind, the “strangers,” and all the work--I still have a desire to go back because we all found Something more there and I truly think that it was God. In our School of Community, we have talked about living the good life versus the easy life, and this was an example of that for me. It definitely was not easy, but that didn’t take away from how good it was. As I reflect, I can honestly say it was God because there was Something there that brought all of us together. Random people that had nothing in common shared a tent and played games together. We didn't know each other; we were complete strangers. Only God can do something so powerful so as to connect strangers in such a special way.

A week after we got back, Mrs. Smith sent us a video from the camping trip of all of us laughing and having fun while we were competing to see who could do the best job in recreating a Disney movie. We were living in the moment. All of our responses to her were, "Oh my God! I miss it so much!" After I saw the video, I literally felt empty because I had found Something more that weekend, I had encountered God and love, and since I found that, I now desire it more and more. When you find something that you love, that fulfills you, you desire it so much that you always want to go back to it. That's how I feel and that's what you feel when you encounter God because when you encounter God, you want more. So, do I want to live an easy life or a good life? After this experience, I would say a good life.

Miranda, Miami, USA