Focusing on the end has lead to all kinds of interesting beginnings in the case of deciding what I'd like to do for the rest of my life.
I recently shared how following my heart landed me on the grounds of a monastery in Nebraska. Well last week I ended up spending several days listening to, learning from and exploring with an amazing group that gathered to cultivate practices for transformative leadership as part of the Foundations of Christian Leadership cohort in Houston (Whew! That's a mouthful). The experience, facilitated by Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School , Folklore Films and Awakenings Movement was one I found myself deeply submerged in and quickly fascinated by. (My name was on a Duke name tag ya'll...now that's something I didn't imagine three months ago!)
I think my fascination stemmed from the fact that I didn't grow up in church. Church, for me, meant Easter Sunday with my Granny. I remember going dress shopping beforehand and admiring all of the big beautiful hats perfectly placed on the heads of most of the ladies gathered on Sunday morning at the baptist church we attended. None of those hats could ever compare to my Granny's. Church didn't always look like new dresses and fancy hats.
Occasionally it was a visit to a Catholic parish with my mom's side of the family. Which, as a child who wasn't raised Catholic, was very confusing to me. I remember thinking,
How do all of these people automatically know what to say and when to say it? Are they looking at me because I don't know the words? How do they know when to stand and when to sit? Why are we sitting and standing so much? Am I going to go to hell if I take communion?
I often felt out of place and awkward.
I can look back now on those odd times and appreciate my surroundings for the deeply rooted traditions that made me feel a little uncomfortable as someone who wasn't familiar with the setting I was in. That tension - between tradition and the unknown (also known as innovation) and how it plays into community is a major focus for the Foundations cohort.
I was able to dive into questions like:
What institutions formed me?
What's Christian about Christian leadership?
What does it mean for an institution to be creative and generative?
What's a thriving community look like?
All questions that I feel are extremely important at this stage in my journey. I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to explore them with people, some of whom I know will be friends for life. Our group reconvenes in January. More to come....
May your days be filled with compassion, your faith remain strong and may growth be your compass.