Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Top Ten Best Things About GA 2010

10. Minneapolis--what a beautiful city! I loved it!

9. Scouting the city for gluten free food with good friends, and running into one of my very best friends on the planet at the gf bakery. How cool is that? Then ending the night with fabulous food and good cocktails.

8. Denny Davidoff. Yes, she was fabulous on our LREDA Professional day keynote panel. And Kathleen Carpenter (DRE and from Mecklenberg ministries interfaith group) and Hannah MacCaughnahay from the Interfaith Youth Core were also amazing on that panel.

7. Sitting with my mom at the opening ceremony.

6. The Happy Hour on the roof at Brit's pub, and my wonderful roommate who didn't care if I was already in my pajamas, but talked me into heading out. Mmmmmm, beer!

5. Spending time with my LREDA peeps. What a fabulous, committed group of fine professionals.

4. The Peter Mayer concert. All of it. Even if I had to stand for most of it.

3. Seeing good friends and making real connections with people I just knew I'd love more if I got to know them better.

2. Serving on the LREDA board and producing; a professional day, a booth in the exhibit hall, a few workshops and an annual meeting and luncheon--all without one big disaster. It was a huge honor to serve my colleagues.

1. The very best moment of the 2010 General Assembly? Lighting the chalice for the Sunday morning worship with my oldest son. Yes, even if I couldn't find the chalice for one panicked moment (I swear, at the rehearsal there were NO FLOWERS hiding it!) it was an honor and a joy to be a part of the service. Especially with my dear son.


(Thanks to Dea Brayden, who works as Peter Morales' assistant for the picture and for being so fun to work with!)

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Bridging

OK, I knew it was coming. When my son went to his first GA in St Louis in 2006, I saw that the 2010 GA was going to be in Minneapolis. "Oh good, his bridging GA can be in his childhood home town, how cool is that?"

Then there was Portland, OR in 2007 with our whole youth group and a lot of fun. And he was elected to be Jr Funtimes manager--managing the youth delegates-- for Ft Lauderdale 2008, which was so hot I almost melted. In Salt Lake City 2009 he was the Sr. Funtimes manager and called the question on that fateful vote which failed by 13 votes. And then, somehow, it was 2010. The bridging year. I'm sure the thunderstorms that raged all afternoon and into the evening here in Minneapolis are for me. I'm unsettled, too. It's hard to let go.

But this is what we want. We all want our children to grow up and become fearless adults who take on life and charge forward to make the world their own. I am deeply happy that I have to let go. Thank God and all the Goddesses and anyone else responsible, it's good to have a child grow up and move on.

Tonight in the plenary hall I sat down for the Synergy worship service and bridging to adulthood ceremony and pulled out a bit of ribbon I've carried tucked in my wallet since the GA in St. Louis. During the youth worship that year, the youth handed around bits of ribbon that was used in a community building ritual. I don't even really remember what we did with them except that my seat mate had already tied hers on her bag and had to ask for another. But I've kept it, I guess it was a symbol of my connection with my son through our faith.

Tonight, I wrapped the little tattered pink ribbon around my finger as we worshiped and blessed the new young adults. I thought about leaving it in the hall, a symbol of leaving my parenting of a child-youth behind. But I didn't. Not yet. Maybe I'll wrap it around my finger for the chalice lighting on Sunday, when we speak together. Maybe I'll go drop it in the Mississippi river after GA is over. Maybe I'll just leave it somewhere at GA. I'm not sure. But my parenting of that child-youth is over, that is sure.

He's off and running. And it's good. But, you know......I'll really miss him.

A lot.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Peter Mayer = The Most Adorable Musician......ever!

All broken parts--healed.

All doubts--answered.

All music--sung.

Thanks for the concert, Peter. You are the most amazing (and yes, adorable) musician who ever lived. I love that you cannot tune you guitar and tell a story at the same time.

And "Holy Now" sung by you and a thousand friends at 11 at night is the most spiritual thing that has ever happened at a GA. We saw that you were getting choked up, but it's OK, we were all choked up, too.


Rising Up

I'm done! Done done done done done done done.

Creating a lovely professional day that would serve the needs of people who have been working as Religious Educators for two days or 5 decades and to do it and spend almost no money was a challenging piece of work. What happened yesterday wasn't perfect, but it was good. And I enjoyed myself immensely. And now it's done.

And my spirit is rising up. A little.

Last night I slept until my alarm went off with no middle-of-the-night panic about forgotten tasks.

I have been to the last five General Assemblies. But I just dreaded this one. Now that the big day is over, I find I'm relaxing a little. My little boy is somehow on the cover of the official agenda. And he spoke from the stage last night like he's been up there on the jumbotron a million times before, which he has. That was nice. And I sat with my mom during the opening ceremony, and that was nice.

Then Peter Mayer sang.

And all was well in the world.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

UU Salon--Universalism

I think I've converted. I used to always just use shorthand... "Hi, oh... who me? Yeah, I'm a Unitarian"

Now I always say both words all the way. No UU, No "Unitarian" I say them both. I am a Unitarian Universalist. But as I learn more and study more and think more and live more, well...I'm becoming a Universalist.

It's Thandeka's fault. She wrote this rocking curriculum called "What Moves Us" and I cannot get the image out of my mind of Hosea Balllou being ordained by having a bible pressed to his heart and taking on the call to ministry. MFC? Phhhbbblt. This is God's work here, what business is it of man to have any say?

And it's also my friend Jan's fault. She's a lifer like me and a recent convert, too. The more she talks the more I nod my head and say "Oh yeah.....all people are equal, absolutely equal, the new PhD, and the girl who just learned to ride a bike." No one is more important, not one bit of difference. We are all equal and worthy and no one can be one bit better than any one else. I just wish she lived a few thousand miles closer so we could go plot our overthrow of the whole UUA over burritos......oh OK, not really, but it would make for a fabulous lunch conversation.

If I have to choose only one "U" it's the Universalist one. As much as I absolutely adore our friend Boston Unitarian and his orderly folk I am flippin' wild for our Universalist brother and sisterhood. There is no elitism, there is only love and good and holy peace.

I am a little scared to poke my head in at this next General Assembly. I am not sure that there is going to be a whole lot of "Universal" love going on there, if the email lists I've been trying to avoid are any indication, we're in for a rockin' ride.

Me? I'll just be hanging out at the booth 634, dragging my friend Jan out for lunch and sneaking off to the gluten free bakery with some of our shady, blogging-sisterhood friends. That's what faith is all about for me. Universal love and peace and worth and dignity and gluten free food, because that's what some of us need to feel OK. (and did you notice? Gluten free options at the LREDA luncheon and annual cool is that?)

So Universalist? Yeah, I can relate. We're at 50 years "as one" next year, but of course much longer for the youth and religious educators. It's all good, all a process, all the way things go. All just how life is. Yep.

Amen. All y'all. Amen.