Friday, August 14, 2009

An Open Thank You Letter

I just got back from a four day staff retreat at the Kuphal cabin. I've never been to a place on earth where the "spirit" of the hosts is present without their physical presence.

Love, generosity, joy, peace, kindness, the feeling of being blessed... was on us.

Jim and Sally,

As I think back on my life, I consider your family to be one of the greatest blessings from God. Especially your son, Joe, who I consider a best friend for life (26 years and counting...). It was so fun to see him (and Tom) on Sunday.
Someone could make a movie about your guest book coming to life.

It felt alive with memories. I just looked through it for about an hour, reminiscing about great times I had there with you guys. This guest book entry was from '93, apparently my first visit up (although I seem to remember being up there earlier???). That was the crew... Tom, Joe, Dusty White, Sam Nanfito, Jeff Thune
This entry, below, was the summer I caught my leg on fire and had to get skin grafts. My friends thought it was pretty funny (per Jeff's comment here: "Mark is naked and on fire.") Okay it was funny at the time, but the burn unit at Clarkson Hospital was not a laughing matter.
Here's a recap of our staff time...

Ben Jensen, enjoying some Philly Cheesesteak...
...cooked up by our very own grill/skillet master, Stan Hayek. (ask Abby about his pork loin...mmm!)
(below) Stan and I went shopping and set it all out on the table. We grazed on food the whole time!
Besides grazing, we sat around the fire and enjoyed prayer, sharing, stories, and times in the Scriptures. The stones around the campfire have been there since the 1930's and must contain so many great late night conversations.

If only we could get them to talk...

Here, Sarah, Mikaela, and Carrie enjoy the beautiful summer afternoon (perfect weather the entire time!)
(below) Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!

We had jet skis coming out of our ears, and we gave them all names (Red Honda: Cadillac, Green: Ferrari, Old Purple: the Taurus)

This would make a great motivational poster...

TEAMWORK: Sometimes you need a friend to help you push through.

Also in the outhouse... Native Americans use every part of the animal they kill. Good thinking.
Late night games of RISK... Ben won with Europe Sunday night, and Stan with Africa Monday night. The stereo in the background was filling the cabin with Hillsong United's new album. Except the morning I woke up the guys with Keith Green's "Asleep in the Light."

This pretty much summarizes the cabin experience...Our staff says a big THANK YOU for your kindness. Bless the Kuphal family and all who will have the privilege of visiting the cabin!
The only sad thing about our trip was that it had to come to an end. A closing thought from C.S. Lewis is the only good way to end...

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others do the same."
(p. 136-137, "Hope" in Mere Christianity.)


J and J Masson said...

everything you said about the kuphals is so true. we got engaged in a boat tied to the end of that dock. who better to celebrate an engagement with than the kuphals? LOVED this post.

Outlaw Josey Wales said...


Appreciate the kind words. You summed it up nicely. My favorite place to be, just an old red building...but the door is open. There is no place I would rather be. I'll find your first visit and send you the picture of the guest book entry. It had to be around 7th grade or so. It was when Jim originated the "process" and we rode on those black tractor tire tubes with no handles behind the old boat. I remember quite clearly you walking or skipping accross the water on your hands with your legs flailing in the air while Sam and I clutched our guts in laughter in the boat...Glad you guys experienced a great week up there.

Your friend, Joe