I begin this blog post in a plain, conference center room, the patterned bedspreads rust colored and slightly tired. The fan of an air conditioner provides white noise in the background, and I sit, propped by large pillows at the back of the bed.
It is early afternoon and Robynn is trying to nap. Clearly I don’t want her to. We haven’t seen each other in 26 years! HOW. DARE. SHE. But if we don’t nap, catching up on the missing sleep from previous nights, than we won’t be able to be fully present and being fully present is a must at this reunion.
Along with trees and hills, massive red rocks surround us. We are at an elevation of 6000 feet and many of us are huffing and puffing more than we care to admit. It is all so incredible – a castle where we eat meals together, either inside at large round tables or outside on a terrace overlooking the beautiful grounds; gardens with a variety of flowers and grass, lush green; the rocks and pine trees.
But compared to the people the scenery is nothing.
Because beyond the castle and rocks, gardens and grass we are surrounded by great men and women. Men and women who have lived faithfully, not perfectly. Men and women who know how to laugh at the days to come, and trust their God with the hard of life.
We have laughed until our stomachs ache, cried several times a day, nodded in agreement at things others are saying, and rested in belonging and not having to explain our past.
After the reunion one of my friends writes this:
When I see the older men and women gathered here I don’t see walkers and slow steps. I see amazing and vibrant adventurers in their prime risking their lives in complete abandon to a Cause. I see the brightest and best academicians; women who were physicians when it was hard even for a man to get into medicine. Athletes who could tackle a mountain; linguists; architects; professors. People who touched and changed an entire nation. I am honored to have been in their company for a few days. (Jim Thompson)
As I interact with these men and women, most of whom have known me since birth or early childhood, I remember who I am called to be. I am challenged on how I am to live, I am reminded of the heritage of faith and joy that I have.
My heart feels alive with the joy of belonging, the joy of knowing who I am. It’s good to remember.
Blogger’s note: There is so much to say about this reunion and I am still processing much of it. But for now all I can think to say is that it is good to remember.
Buy Between Worlds. Between Worlds, Essays on Culture and Belonging a set of essays on living between worlds today. The book is divided into 7 sections and each section is illustrated by my talented daughter – Annie Gardner. Home, Identity, Belonging, Airports, Grief & Loss, Culture Clash, and Goodbyes set the stage for the individual essays within each section.