Basic Instructions

His eyes were beginning to glaze over, but I doggedly continued.

“And make sure to save some of your money so you can buy lunch on the way home. Here, how about if we put a sticky note on this 5 dollar bill to help you remember? And please... please... promise me you’ll brush your teeth. And...”

I could barely catch my breath for all the things I felt compelled to remind Young Man before he left for his first week away at camp.

“And don’t forget to take your medicine. And if your clothes get wet, don’t stuff them into your duffel bag, let them dry first. You remember how mold destroys everything around it, right?”

Almost in spite of myself, the Mom-isms continued to flow from my mouth.

“Uh, I don’t think the camp wants you to bring your own matches.”

“Sorry, the over-sized industrial-strength scissors need to stay at home.”

“But darling, EVERYONE looks like a giant gum drop when they wear a rain poncho.”

Sigh. It’s a tough job trying to summarize All Things Important.

Makes me think of how The Master was able to boil down the essentials of faith into their simplest form:

"Love God. Love others as yourself.
Fulfill these two commands,
and you have fulfilled the entire law

(Matthew 22.37-40, paraphrase)

Imagine that, the most important things we need to know can be summarized in a half dozen words. Love God. Love others as yourself.

Basic instructions to work at any age and in any context. No endless list of rules and regulations. No abstract theorems which only the most educated can understand and apply. Love is the starting point. Love is the end goal. Love, simply love.

Simple, of course, does not necessarily mean easy. But how glad I am that The Master saw fit to keep our Basic Instructions...basic.

Young Man had a great week at camp. He returned tired but intact, with the majority of his belongings bearing semblance to their original state. Just as important, he was able to learn more about The Master’s love for him, and about sharing that love in return. In other words, the most critical Basic Instructions of all.

For first weeks away at camp and Basic Instructions to last a lifetime,