Why do we make so much stuff? This is a question that probably gets asked most often in the last 1-2 weeks leading up to the weekend. This is when the list of participants is finalized and we’re down to the wire to make sure everything is prepared. Will that paint dry in time? Did I remember to draw the log and the butterfly in the bottom corner? What number LOG is this again? Which of these ideas should I use for my palanca? Making all of this stuff can feel like a burden if you let it, but if you break down why each piece is so important and envision the participants’ joy at seeing each item that was individually and intentionally made for them, you will see that it is worth it. From my perspective, there are three purposes to all of the items we make. Each item in the course of time will inspire us, sustain us and remind us.
As a participant, the first time you see an item (and there are so many of them), you can see by your name on it, the design on it, the colors chosen, or the words written on it that it was made intentionally for you. Each item is different, just as we are different, so that there are numerous opportunities for God to nudge our individual soul and help us each feel loved in our own way.
After the weekend, the details start to fade, the sleep deprivation takes its toll and the ups and downs of the day to day try to steal away the joy you found. That is when you reach for one of these items. You hold it in your hand, you wear it, you re-read it, or you carry it in your pocket. That is when it sustains you. It brings you hope. It is a physical manifestation of the love and acceptance you felt from your peers throughout the weekend, which in turn was only a shadow of God’s endless love for you.
Years and years later, one of these items will surface in your life and you’ll flashback to this life-changing weekend that happened to you once. I have several examples of these. I still hold a beautifully painted rock with an ICHTHYS on it sometimes when I pray. When I visit my parent’s house, I often use a green water cup with a Sharpie scrawl that says “I will lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the Lord.” I have a dusty bag full of letters of love and encouragement. I remember shedding a few tears when 5 years after my last LOG I saw my water-damaged placemat decorated in my high school best friend’s handwriting. Somehow it had made it through a devastating fire and was still there, showing me that my presence here mattered.
From the first time I saw each of these things to now when I look at them fondly, they serve as a physical representation of this family that I will always belong to. And that is why we make so. much. stuff.
Jamie (Blickensdefer) Studtman (LOG #14)