I wrote this a few years back around the time my son became actively involved in the Order of the Arrow, a service organization that I ma also part of, with ties to Native American traditions as well as to Scouting ideals. Since I’ve been recalling some of my previous Scoutmaster Minutes, I thought this one would be good to include as well. I think some of the comments are also applicable to testers. See if you agree :).

Seeing Things the Way We Are (October, 2008) 

 This weekend, my son and I will be heading up to the Santa Cruz Mountains to participate in the Ordeal Weekend for our Order of the Arrow Lodge. It’s an event we have done together twice, and now this will be our third time together. Last year, he went through for himself to receive Ordeal membership. Last spring, he served as an Elangomat (meaning Friend or Guide) to others going through the Ordeal for the first time. While this was happening, I was in another part of the camp going through the process to receive the Vigil Honor (and no, I’ll not tell what that process is, if you want to know, join and get there yourself 😉 ).

This weekend, Nick will be acting as an Elangomat again, and he has the chance to seal his membership in Order of the Arrow as a Brotherhood member. What’s more, he will be an Elangomat for fellow members of his Troop, so this time, he will actually be leading his own friends through the process.

 So what does the title of this post have to do with the preceding paragraph? It always interests me that we have opportunities where we can get away from it all, think, ponder, pray, meditate, and learn a little bit more about ourselves and where we fit into the world. These actions allow us to open our eyes just a little bit more, and they let us see a little more clearly what we as people need to do.

It’s been a year since my son was elected to be an Ordeal candidate. In that time, he has learned a bit more about what it means to serve and be part of a bigger group, and to contribute to the success of that group. I’m proud of him and what he has been able to do in a short time. By contrast, my own involvement over the last year has changed somewhat with the receiving of the Vigil Honor. With it comes a greater expectation, and through that expectation, I’ve determined that I need to be more aware and alert to the things that I need to do and the example I need to set.

 As an active member of my church, I am often instructed and counseled to read my scriptures daily. Oftentimes, I have had to ask myself “why am I being asked to rehash things I’ve already read a bunch of times before?” I’ve come to see that it is because there really is no one world, one absolute reality, but billions of them, and each reality is informed by the viewpoint and the vision of the individual living that reality. Unlike a stone crag that juts out into the ocean, impervious to all that buffet it, human beings are really very small boats that have very lightweight anchors. We get blown about all over the place. Likewise, we are also very swift and maneuverable; we can change course very easily and maneuver very quickly and with great agility in even the most treacherous of areas. Thus the words that we are taught, and the counsel that we always seek those words, is inspired because of the fact that we are such lightweight and agile but easily blown about vessels. We need to be reminded where our home port is, and we need to be reminded of what the windows on the bridge are supposed to see. 

What’s more, there is a lot of our world that is hidden from us because we are not ready, willing or able to see it for what it is. Those moments of clarity take time to develop, and they often come about because we’ve discovered that something we thought worked well for us really doesn’t. If we do not question and ponder the things we read, but just accept them at face value, we also stagnate, and may not even realize that the world has changed under our feet, and we were too slow to observe and realize that the world had changed.

 This weekend, a new batch of boys will be coming up to find out a little bit more about who they are and how they see the world. Here’s hoping it will be a good experience for them, and for us as well.