Saturday, August 1, 2009

Olaf Goes to Lutheran Camp

Olaf Bjornson is saying goodbye to his grandmother. His bags are packed and his father’s car is waiting. Olaf is meeting the other members of Cloverdale’s Lutheran Youth Club at the train station. They are booked on the 9:07 A.M. to Tamworth on Tide to attend the All Shire Lutheran Summer Camp.

Olaf’s grandmother was hesitant to give her blessing for the camp. She was concerned Olaf would have a good time. Having a good time is something foreign to your older, more traditional Lutheran congregant. Mortal existence is for testing and trails not fun and games. How would spending one week near the sea at a camp with tents, swimming, canoes and theater teach Olaf the life of suffering and sacrifice necessary to show one’s love for God?
“Das ist Catholic,” she said over and over again when Olaf asked her for a donation to his camp fund.
“Grandma its not a Catholic camp. Its a Lutheran camp. There won’t be any Catholics,” Olaf repeatedly said.
“In this life ve suffer. It ist vhat God vants from us. Olaf you vork here vith your fater and I,” she said changing the subject to the core of what really bothered her.
“Grandmother, the pastor will be there. How can this be bad if the pastor is going to be there?” Olaf made the winning point.

His grandmother shifted her weight on the kitchen chair and looked earnestly out the window and into the garden. Olaf knew he was winning the argument but felt badly. He couldn’t do this to his grandmother. He was her pride and joy and she cared for him as if he were hers. He thought quickly for a way both could win.

“Grandmother. You are right. I shouldn’t go. I only wanted to go because the pastor asked me to. It’s not the kind of camp I’d want to go to anyway so you’re doing me a favor.” Olaf said, seemingly surrendering his will to hers.

“Vhy not a camp for you?” his grandmother insisted.

“Well, we will study the scriptures morning noon and night. They will wake us at 4:00 A.M. and send us to bed early. I heard they expect us to work in the camp gardens growing food for the shelters. We don’t get beds. We have to sleep on the floor. The food is simple, to teach us to be grateful for what we have at home. They have prayer meetings every day. Grandma its too much for me. I can’t handle that kind of life. I guess I’m not a very good Lutheran.” Olaf was finished. He waited to see if this reverse psychology worked.

“You go to camp and they make you do these things?” she questioned.
“Yes,” Olaf replied.
“You go to this camp. Get me my purse for money.”

“But grandma you said I shouldn’t go.”

“If the pastor goes then you vill go. Get my purse.”

At this point Olaf needed to clench the decision by throwing a minor temper tantrum. His grandmother took delight in his suffering and increased the amount she was donating to his camp fund.

The day finally arrived. Olaf is smiling because he got his wish. Grandmother is smiling knowing the suffering Olaf will soon endure all in the name of God.

Everyone wins. Olaf goes to camp!

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