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  • Writer's pictureJason E. Fort

"Looking back..."

"Looking back, on the memory of

the dance we shared

'Neath the stars above.

For a moment

all the world was right..."

I'm going to stop right there, 'for a moment.' My fellow Garth Brooks fans know that the song doesn't stop there.

But I'm on the third day of vacation, and I've been able to escape to an old stomping ground I call one of my homes. I had the pleasure of being here, at Bonclarken, this past weekend as the church denomination that raised me celebrated this sacred getaway retreat ground's 100th anniversary. I am just one of so many people who have special memories of this place. As I've walked around during my time up here, I can't help but think of the opening lyrics to ol' Garth's song.

First of all, I accepted Jesus as my Savior in this place. And it was times sitting on logs and old benches (not the nice benches you see now) around a bonfire, singing and worshipping with other kids my age, or sometimes other families, that lit the spark that convicted me to walk down an aisle to share that decision publicly.

And it was sitting there or standing up singing songs, 'beneath the stars,' around the bonfire, where all my other cares seemed so far away. Everything just seemed right. Celebrating the memory of this place, Bonclarken, helped me look back on so many things that seemed right.

"It was where I first got up the nerve to steal me my first kiss." (Anither quote from one of my favorite country songs.) It was where I spent many a night, wondering about who I am. It was where I saw crazy friends do crazy things, like slide down a mountainous hill in nothing but their Umbro's! It was where I spent many nights and some days, 'crushin' over some girl.

And Bonclarken was where I first remember literally seeing the power of God, as it appeared to me that He breathed life back into my younger brother after he almost drowned in the Bonclarken lake. My mom's fervent prayers whispered over and over as she hugged me tight and looked on helplessly at the bluish-white boy laying on the lakeshore, were answered that day, before my very eyes!

So when I come back to this place, I can come back to spots like the cite of the old bonfires, and I can look back to when all the world seemed right. Old camp songs like 'Friend I will Remember You,' the 'J-O-Y song,' and 'Peace Like a River' echo all the rightness in the world.

Yep, I can come up here still, and escape all the things I know in this crazy world that aren't right. Perhaps that is why I spend so much sweet 'alone time' with God and a keyboard just to getaway for vacation.

I did want to close this post with the rest of the opening stanza of the song The Dance, because it asks a question. That question is ironic.

" could I have known, that we'd ever say goodbye?"

You see, as a believer, which this sacred place called Bonclarken helped mold me to be - the answer is simple. God's Word tells us all, we will say goodbye to THIS world, one way or another. But thankfully, because I was blessed like so many others to find a place and moment where all the world seemed right - I know that a better world than this lies ahead.

God, I cannot thank you enough...and none of us deserve it.

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