After my literal 15 minutes of fame last Thursday, I calmly walked off the stage (without falling) and took my seat. I was overwhelmed with relief and absolute elation afterwards… so much kindness, so much encouragement. An oasis of a night in a desert of a year… or two. Look. Even my hair was totally behaving. It was incredible. Thank you, Kelly.
Friday brought the realization of a HUGE work project for Curt at Camp Roger– his whole company came out and raised a new rope swing out over Little Bostwick by hand. It had been in the works for so long! The goal was to give to the camp, of course, but also have a huge team-building day for the folks at Wolverine Building Group… so we prayed long and hard for good weather, strong steel, and no ice. Curt lost more sleep over those 2 telephone poles than any other construction project I’ve seen in the past year. And Friday? 65 degrees. Sunny. Smooth sailing perfection couldn’t have gone better. SO LOVELY.
Check TWO crazy things off the list.
And then, I was up to bat again.
[It was a ridiculous week. I’m still sleeping it off.]
I had volunteered to host the Grand Rapids/Holland chapter of the (in)RL 2013 meet up. There’s this fabulous free webcast for women each year… this year it focused on staying in community when community is hard. Appropriate, no? Friday night was a watch-at-home session and then Saturday, all over the world, women met up in-person to watch the other sessions and have some conversation.
So, ok. I can do this, right? I’m a hermit, but I’m making great strides. I even gave a speech early this week!
Cue my co-host emailing me 2 days before and saying she had to bail for family reasons.
Still ok. She dropped off snacks ahead of time, I loaded up decorations, I bought name tags, my hair was still looking good. I’m in. I’m in because this year they’re talking about staying in community when it’s hard and awkward and this is not lost on me. I’m in because I don’t mind the hour drive there and the hour drive home in gorgeous weather… ALONE. I didn’t even turn on the radio, People. It was glorious.
And I arrived and I decorated and I set out all the handouts and the gifts and the snacks and I waited… I waited for the other 25 brave RSVPs to walk through the doors. Twenty-five strangers who would spend the afternoon together and stretch their community arms a little bit. Twenty-five people who wanted to meet-up beyond the regular (in)courage blog posts we read every day.
And five of us showed up.
And I thought, I honestly thought- at 10:35am when it was obvious this was IT, time to fish or cut bait- what in the world is even possible here? I was so ready! I had tried so hard! I had driven so far! I was scared, too! Totally not fair.
That’s what I thought.
And then I thought, screw it. We’re doing this thing. Roll tape. Pass the chocolate.
What followed was 4 hours of fresh conversation, honest questions, and Godly effort from 5 women who stuck it out. We left with books and cute mugs and leftovers for our family table. We left with questions about what steps God was asking us to take (and, no, He is not asking me to wake up at 5am) to better our families, we left encouraged by the women we watched on-line and their stories… which sounded remarkably like our own.
I didn’t think it would work.
God, apparently, does not work through RSVPs… he works through willing hearts. And He blesses effort. Even tiny, hesitant, nervous effort. He does not care about numbers or decorations or gluten-free or tamed hair. He cares about community. Community with each other that leads to community with Him.
Will I do it again? You bet. Next year- I’m hosting. But on different, calmer, gentler terms. It will be here… at my house… with my dirty floors and my great food. It will be here… with friends I want to share the day with and strangers who need a welcome mat. It will be here… and I will not count RSVPs. I will not count RSVPs or left overs or miles or extra pens.
I will simply open the door and welcome willing hearts in.