Friday, August 30, 2013

The Smart Church: Love of Creation

by Connie Goodbread

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dwight Brown Leadership Experience (DBLE) was the best ever. No, really!  I know we say that every time, and for every class it is true.  I know that because the information is deep and in some ways challenging because it dredges up feelings.  It dredges up feelings in all of us.  For me, and I am not sure why, this particular DBLE was very moving.  Maybe the effect it had on me comes from this being my 12th Leadership Experience as staff.  Maybe it was because they have not all been so wonderful.  Maybe I see it differently now.  Maybe it is because I won’t be there next year.  I don’t know why I was so moved.  But I was moved.  I was moved to tears more times than I can count.  I don’t cry easily so I found myself pretty amazed. I was moved by stories I have heard, and even told, many times before.  I was moved by the willingness of the people to come into community.  I was moved by the struggles of others.  I was moved by my own struggle. 

So I am on the plane headed home.  The sun is setting.  The clouds begin to become that sky-blue/pink that only happens sometimes if we are lucky at sunrise and sunset.  The rays from the sun become more and more slanted, and, in no time at all, the clouds are on fire below the wings of the plane.  There were no flames or smoke like there would be with a forest fire, only billowing branches of cumulonimbus clouds mimicking tree tops, orange treetops.  It looked as though we were flying over a forest of peach, coral and orange trees.  Then in the top branches of one of the tallest cloud trees, a rain circle appears like a god’s eye hanging on a Christmas tree.  It forms and becomes solid.  I hold my breath and then slowly it fades as the sun sinks lower and the plane moves out of its exactly correct position.  Wow, I say out loud.  Tears begin to form in my eyes.  Then I think - What a pretty little planet.  What a miracle of creation.  How lucky am I to have witnessed this?  I am so in love.  I am in love with creation.  Faces of beloved people appeared in my mind - my family first and then the faces of the people I had just been with.  New faces.  Faces of dear friends.  Their eyes.  Their shining eyes.

People cannot spend their whole lives on the mountain top.  People must come down into the valleys and get their hands dirty in the soil and deal with the things of life - but for every moment that I spend on the mountain top, for every moment that is filled with possibility, for every time I get a small look at the magic all around us, I am profoundly grateful.

I would like to thank the staff of DBLE.  Thank you - we all worked really hard.  We work hard every time, that is not new.  But I think that all of the work we have put into the last 12 experiences are beginning make a difference.  I think next year’s DBLE and SUULE will be even better.  I would like to thank the participants who taught me more than they will ever know.  I am grateful to each of you for the time, thoughts and heart you poured into the experience.  I am grateful for the deep sharing we did.  The theme for this year seemed to be, “Why am I telling you this?”  We shared in a deep way and made ourselves vulnerable.  We were open to all the possibilities and each other and that was why we shared so much of ourselves.  Most of all I am grateful for the struggles.  Most came out okay, some are still up in the air and some will most likely go on for a long time.  I am so very grateful for having had shared struggles with you all.  Thank you for staying at the table.  BEST DBLE EVER!