Monday, September 1, 2008

The Weekend of Reunions

I was living in the old farmhouse, in (semi) rural Tennessee - "the womb house", a friend called it. It was there where I was born into knowing my Self. It was there that I 'grew up'. It was there that I stepped out on faith and acted TOTALLY out of character...

I had joined a list-serv: an internet discussion group. A bunch of nurses. But that was not (really) out of character. I had developed friendships with many of them over the months - and I had been introduced to a "teacher" (the "mirror"-holding one). That wasn't particularly unusual either. But one day, the strangest thing happened.

Something within me said, "OH! To meet these people, face to face..." - and before I could talk reason into this dream, I sent an email inviting them - all 187 of them - to my house. When the message arrived in my inbox (confirmation that it had arrived in all the inboxes), I thought, "My God, what have I done?" Yet, when asked, "Are you sure?" I responded, "Absolutely!!"

People started to reply - they'd love to come. I started to worry - where will they sleep? But, excitement and anticipation grew - and the hotel construction began at the end of my street. (seriously!)

Months went by from my May invitation to the Labor Day Reunion. I headed to the airport - hoping to recognize the faces from the pictures I'd been given. Standing there, trembling, I wondered what I'd say - if I would LIKE them in person. One by one, they arrived - each confessing the fear they'd had - and the comments they'd gotten from strangers when they shared about their trip. They were heading to a city they'd never been, to meet people they'd never (really) met! ("Are you NUTS?!")

Others arrived by car, and in the end, we had collected 8 people from 5 different states - some now sleeping in my spare room, some camped in tents in the yard - and a couple in the hotel at the end of my road.

The house was alive with conversation and laughter. Hope, Joy and Love were truly abundant.

On the second morning, as we chattered and laughed while preparing our breakfast, I turned to my friend, Karen - my "teacher". She had been asking me for several months, "are you lonely?" ("no!") That morning, I turned to her and said, "NOW, I know what lonely is..."

That was the first of 10 consecutive Labor Day reunions - each with a different assortment of individuals, each with a unique feel and theme. A decade of laughter, joy, confrontation and support. A group of individuals who continue to support each other, and love each other across America - on line and in person. Totally unbelievable... but, OH how grateful I am to have stepped out of my comfort zone, and listened to the Gentle Voice Within...

1 comment:

Mary said...

Linda, Thank you so much for inviting us. It was such a great and powerful weekend. Ten years???

Love,
Mary