I have a life-long case of wanderlust. It may be because of genetics but I suspect it’s likely a product of how I grew up. As a kid I lived in a rural part of Watauga County and it was not unusual to spend an entire day wandering away from home. Home for me was stressful, unpredictable and often chaotic and the time away was a form of refuge. Many days were spent riding my bike for miles on gravel backroads, climbing into barn rafters, building rickety treehouses, catching frogs and salamanders, and searching for arrowheads. If I was lucky I’d find another kid who lived not too far away who was able to play for part of the day or I’d run into a neighbor who was kind enough to entertain me. More often than not, however, I’d spend days alone, finding adventure and wonder in the world around me. To this day I love exploring and my family has experienced their fair share of me disappearing while I walk a stretch of beach alone, explore the vastness of the Oregon high desert or hike one of the many trails in our area (I now live in Washington State). In case it’s not obvious, times of solitude have always been special for me. I can remember many days being alone in the woods as a child and having conversations with God about what was happening in my world at the time. I look back at those early days and I realize they were the earliest and, frankly, most impactful times of spiritual formation. I was unsure of myself, insecure in the world, and searching for something I could count on.
The insecurities of my childhood and early adult years were certainly in play when I worked at BRAG (as it was known back then) in my early 20s. I was a college kid trying to figure out who I was, what I wanted, and where I belonged. BRAG was the first place I felt truly connected to the people and the work in ways that made it feel less like a job and more like a sort of calling. I so fondly remember being part of Special Days, getting to know and experience the unconditional and non-judgemental love of the campers. Special Days is still one of the few times in my life where I’ve allowed myself to dance in front of other people without any worry of what they might think. There were many times where I’d be working on the property and I’d have those same conversations with God that I had had many times as a kid…the property was big enough to provide the solitude I needed without detaching me entirely from civilization. Even the memories of the mundane are special to me: interacting with new and returning guests, stripping and waxing floors, cleaning bathrooms, folding laundry, mowing fields, and so many other things. These memories are special because the place was and is a very special part of my story. To this day I tell people that my time at BRCC was the best job I ever had and I sincerely mean it!
The most special of all my memories are the many relationships that were started or deepened while I worked at BRCC. Martha and I remain close, she is a dear friend who has been trustworthy and supportive through many seasons of my life. Jason, Wes and I worked closely together and we continue to be friends and keep in contact all these years later. I have many fond memories of working with Janelle, Eric, Teresa, Phil, and many others. It’s the place where I met Kristin, Benny & Judy, three people who will always be a special part of my story. If you are reading this post, chances are you’ve grown to love BRCC in your own way and have been impacted by the people and place in ways that are unique to you. My hope is that you continue to see the beauty and magic of the property and continue on the legacy of the many people who’ve visited, worked or volunteered at BRCC. It’s people like you who help BRCC be a place of impact and for that I am so grateful!
P.O. Box 2350
Blowing Rock, NC 28605