Good evening blogging friends! I feel like every time I start a blog (all three of them, oh my!) I get to this point – an apology for not posting at a rate I deem acceptable! If you haven’t caught on, I’m trying to post twice a week, and so far it seems Sundays and Thursdays are the days. But I haven’t posted since a week ago, which is awful, and I am vowing to myself that this will not mark an end, but the beginning of a renewed promise to myself and to you to keep my writing skills sharp and keep my ideas honest and authentic, and timely!
My focus on blogging has wavered due to an increased focus on another project I finished and delivered this weekend – designing and facilitating a workshop for the 2012 Minneapolis area synod Women of the ELCA gathering at Central Lutheran in downtown Minneapolis. It was called “One Caring Woman: The Impact of Mentoring Young Women in Leadership.” (Do you want me to provide a link?)
True, I was in the age minority, the under age 50 crowd which made up about 5% of the gathering, but the experience was SO great, I met so many refreshingly open and inquisitive people (mostly women but there were 3 men!) and, honestly, I networked like it was nobody’s business, as I found that may individuals there had similar missions/vocations to mine. I could write hundreds, thousands of words on the experience, but for tonight I just want to talk about “sparks.”
Do you know this song by Coldplay? You should. Oh, the B-sides before they got all rich and famous and the radio destroyed the initial beauty of songs like “Yellow.” One of the lyrics is “I saw sparks,” alluding to the singer’s adoration and love. It’s a simple melody, it’s plain, and to me, speaks to the rare raw, awe-some inspiring moments when an idea, a relationship, a connection, a vision, an optimistic thing pops into reality.
Really, this weekend was a series of sparks: The gathering as a whole – amazing. Meeting so many wonderful women not afraid of where the Holy Spirit might be taking this organization – amazing. Asking and hearing Bishop Ann Svennungsen’s thoughts at the end of her keynote speech of her insights on the ELCA’s young adults who have found vocation, love, life, service, leadership and purpose in cultures of vocation at Lutheran colleges/universities, but now feel a lack of support, engagement, trust from their larger church – amazing. Reconnecting with Eva Yeo, national staff at Women of the ELCA, and surprising myself in telling her I want to present/speak at their national gathering in North Carolina in 2014 if they pay for Timothy and my way – amazing. Sparks.
At my first workshop (one of multiple breakout session options) we had 15 people, at the second 9. A pretty decent turnout considering the whole gathering was 60-70 people. I led them through a challenge activity – challenging them to line up by birthday, their month and day – in silence, in 60 seconds. Both groups did it, yay!
Then they talked in small groups about their new-found friends’ gifts and strengths displayed in the challenge. They affirmed each other’s gifts, verbally, outloud, woman to woman, directly to each other’s faces. Then they said outloud the gifts they believed they had individually. Eva said the exercise made her realize that she truly had valued gifts, and that her gifts were different than her neighbors, and this was a good thing. She could help her friends in one way, and they could help her in another way. So much fun seeing light blubs turn on and people asking me to do this same workshop at their congregations (and I can do it at yours too, let’s talk!)
The spark that inspired reflecting on all of this though happened today, the day after the last day of the gathering, and it came from Timothy. No surprise there, but truly, I was all flustered today with my growing to-do list, and wanting to take advantage of every single conversation I had this weekend or else I’m convinced I’m not going to get a job and I’ll die in a ditch somewhere down by the river – and he saw right through this, calmed me down, calmed us down. I’ll spare you the details! But you know when someone smiles and and it takes up their whole face? That happened today. I hope I remember that one, because goodness knows I can be super forgetful! His reassurance and support and proud-hubby glow has been incredible, especially over the last 48 hours. That’s my spark, oh and what a sweet one it is. Goodness gracious. Here’s to moments and sparks for all of us this week in whatever form they may take!