Coming to Camp Magruder was a big step for my wife Allyson and me. Before interviewing for the Assistant Director position here, neither of us had been to Oregon. We had little doubt we would love it here--we’d been scheming for ways to live on the West Coast since we’d been married. Still, there wasn’t much that was wrong with our then life in Murray, Kentucky. It started as curiosity from an email of a job posting that snowballed into a draw to the Oregon Coast we did not resist. This is the nature of callings, often. They grow larger than we anticipated.
I dusted off my resume and got advice from my camp friends. I revised and re-revised. I got an interview, and Allyson and I landed in Portland like innocent, starry-eyed tourists. In Portland, we ate delicious food and strolled the neighborhoods. On Highway 6, en route to the coast, we were mesmerized by the beauty of the Tillamook Forest and how it reminded us of the East Tennessee Smokey Mountains. We kept finding ourselves blown away with every new thing we encountered.
I took a tour of Camp Magruder on my interview day. Allyson and I found ourselves able to dream quite easily as we toured the cabins. Throughout the experience we expected something would not work out. We thought we’d go back to Kentucky glad we gave it a shot. Just before lunch Rik, Camp Magruder's Maintenance Director, encouraged us to walk up the Great Dune to the bench where there would be a viewpoint. We took the path climbing the hill past old growth spruce and hemlock, then we caught the view of ocean from up high. We had nothing much to say about it--we were baffled. By the time I had done the formal interview and been given an offer, we both acknowledged we’d be stupid not to move across the country.
There have been many ups and downs in the five years since our first visit to the Oregon Coast. It has taken routes I did not expect. This is also the nature of callings, though. If we knew all that was in store, we might shy away. Because of the hardships, we might miss the beauty, we might miss the ways we grow to something we didn’t think we were capable of. It works well to start us off with an incredible, magnetic draw to something we cannot shake loose from; much like our initial draw desire to the west coast. The obsession with that wonder and beauty will draw us to places we didn’t know we could go.