We need Bad Medicine Lake more than ever now. Here’s why:

In this piece, I go against my own doctrine of cherishing hardships, embracing the fire of uncertainty, and growing as a result and instead encourage my readers to, for once, be ok with a stubborn resistance to change and remember the good ol’ days.

My writing typically boasts of the benefits of embracing change and discomfort as key catalysts for growth and self-discovery. As former editor of the Bad Medicine Lake Association Newsletter, I know I’ve proofread and perhaps even written myself on the importance of carefully and thoughtfully balancing along the fine line between change and preservation, especially as it relates to proper responses to advocates of either side in caring for our beautiful Bad Medicine Lake. (I’d like to avoid any unnecessary division – we’ve had enough of that lately – and I think elaborating on this balance further could potentially ignite such a response, so I’ll quickly stray away from legislative specifics as it pertains to ‘lake’ matters.)

Just a glance at choices I’ve made already in my young life show that, well humbly aware of the severity and consequences change in a career or residency can inflict, I’m not averse to taking a risk and seeing what comes of it. Additionally, the focal subject of this blog – endurance sports – itself thrives and attracts participants on the basis of a shared appreciation, almost monastic reverence, and some could easily argue, a compulsive enjoyment of living in the pain cave. It is the vehicle with which we weld elite performance and lifelong lessons. All of these aspects should give plenty of indication on where I tend to fall on the continuum of purposeful, exuberant, but often naive, un-founded change and it’s boring older sister, the reserved and restrained, but sometimes more grounded constant, preservation. Quite simply, I don’t advocate for change, but I do value the importance of allowing oneself to be uncomfortable, and if change is a reason for that, I don’t think the pain itself can serve as justification for a condemnation of the change. 

A dichotomy, however, which exists in me, is the total reliance in forming any philosophy or idea on the unchanging truths and the unchanging nature in the God I serve and the Word He’s given us. My Biblical-worldview is by definition unchanging. God’s word is His perfect revelation, and thus it is sufficient for teaching and rebuking and training in 2020, just like it was in 140 AD (yes, before the Council of Nicea …haha). Don’t worry, God was aware there would be a day of smartphones, internet, and everything else, from the beginning of time, when he determined his plan to make himself known through the revelation of the God-breathed Scriptures. As a result, I have firm principals and strong convictions, which make it difficult to remain silent when I watch the world mainstream the distortion of those truths, the mockery those truths, or the flat out ignoring of those truths. I really struggle to hold back. I want to proclaim truth. 

I want to engage

Perhaps, when you watch the news or scroll your social media feeds and see things which trigger you in disagreement, you are so angered or disgusted that you react by shutting off the TV, setting down your phone, and heading off into the woods to try and forget about the craziness of our currently and continuingly deteriorating society. 

I’ll be frank – I wish I was more like that, sometimes, but typically I’m resistant to the idea of looking at matters of disagreement and reacting in such a manner. 

Yet, there is Bad Medicine Lake. And the summer of 2020.

The bugs aren’t upon us yet (and I’m sure they will be), but the itch to return up north to the cabin is gradually gaining steam … or histamine. I’m thinking at this point, I’d like to scratch it.

In light of the turmoil facing our nation and world – events which have rocked our foundations, caused tremendous upheaval, and no doubt will bring both positive, but also potentially very negative changes ahead, I find myself overwhelmed by a sense of conservatism in general. No, this is not me citing some abnormal politically “red” energy bubbling inside, urging me to vote a certain way in November. Conservatism, rather, in the sense of a desire to literally ‘conserve’ and resist to any change towards that which we’ve established, believe in, and … which we know. What is comforting to us.

I do want to run out to the woods and forget. I don’t want to engage with social media or stress over the clash of God’s doctrine of justice and the general public’s ignorance, misuse or patented destruction of.

I want to pretend, even for a weekend, that it’s still 1999, and the family is gathered at the cabin. Grandpa has his hat on at the end of the table, Grandma wakes us up with the smell of something homemade, and my mom and dad go on a run, but I think it is silly, so I swim in the lake or throw sticks at the dog. I want to pretend I can go back to an afternoon where our boat still has a bit of kick in its motor and doesn’t require a resuscitation effort every time we want to go out on it (ok, subtle jab my dad for faithfully keeping “Herbie” going, somehow, after 30 years of heavy use … no particularly meaningful literary device or metaphor there, I’ll admit). I want to go back to the day’s where we could tube with 5 or 6 people behind her inboard motor, before the ‘big’ tube got a hole, before the engine turned into an elderly patient, and before my friends all moved too far away to ever visit. 

I want to pretend the world is the same as it was in 2013, when I proposed to my wife and then drove her to our favorite place, the lake, and shared a time of celebration with a future new, bigger family. Or the next year, when we spent our honeymoon at the same place, looking out at the same waters my dad and Grandpa did when they built the deck, where we sat, deciding our dreams. Dreams for a future that seems, with every newsflash which has the effect of altering another element of our current state of being, frighteningly hard to define and perhaps even more frighteningly irrelevant. Thinking one way? Wait five minutes … it will have to change.

I want to pretend we have the same neighbors we’ve always had, known and love. Neighbors who see eye to eye with us when it comes to keeping the lake a clear, pristine, quiet sanctuary and would worry if they saw too many huge boats, big numbers, loud jet skis, or littering buffoons on the lake. { I’m of the young generation, and believe me, I love big powerful boats and would celebrate if our family ever bought a jetski, but I fully understand, maybe now more than ever, that on a lake as unique as Bad Medicine, an effort to protect the lake as a whole sometimes requires what seems to certain individuals to be extreme efforts. I believe the owners of such boats should be responsible, cabin or land owning residents who have something at stake and are reasonable in their usage of their toys. I add this only to prevent unnecessary squabbling among friends and others I know who have been wonderful stewards of the lake while also using such motorized units)}.

I want to pretend some of the logging along my favorite running routes didn’t happen. I want to pretend all of my grandma and grandpa’s friends from the lake church are still around. I want to go to church and hear and see a choir sing, smell coffee and watermelon, and hear a sermon while the birds chirp and the bugs twiddle their little wings. 

I want to pretend aquatic invasive species isn’t a thing. I want to pretend I don’t have to be worried about destruction or change to the lake at all, in any aspect. I want to pretend change isn’t even really a thing, anywhere. 

Perhaps you have felt this way, too. Perhaps, you’ve held onto that feeling a little too tightly. Perhaps, when you think about it, this feeling has even exerted a crippling effect. If that is you, I hope, through honest introspection, you can bravely acknowledge whatever potential fault you may have in this area. Search for a stable bastion of truth, which will provide you with peace, even in the hard times. I believe by releasing the need to resist change, you will find great joy and growth in the moments where you are the most uncomfortable. After all, we are forged in the fire. 

But, I also, just for today – maybe just for this summer – want to step off what is usually my stance on this issue, and encourage you to do just the opposite:

reminisce.

I want to encourage you to, at least for a weekend, pretend nothing really has changed. Maybe it’s silly – no, it is kind of silly, but maybe it is what we need. And maybe this is why we need Bad Medicine now more than ever.

I want you to drive up north to the cabin on a Friday, unlock the screen door, smell the fresh scent of pines, feel the sting of a mosquito as you unpack the car, and hear the melody of laughter from voices and souls who are both with us and gone to the great beyond. Forget about everything going on in the world, unplug, and take everything else in for a change.

Fortunately, we can do that at Bad Medicine. And hopefully, thanks to the continued effort of those who work on the side of conservation and protection in our lake association and other local organziations, this reality will remain for future generations as well. 

In a time where it seems every new story or Facebook post betrays our consequentially defunct thoughts for “what the future may hold,” I’ve never felt so thankful to have a geographic reminder in the heart of God’s creation which whispers in the wind and sings through the loon, and proclaims as clearly as our blue/green waters:

 “I’m the Maker.

and I’m still on my throne.” 

When everything around us seems only to be changing,

Rest in a promise of something that never will.

Have a great weekend –

the Seder-Skier

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s