After four years, I think I’m finally beginning to understand the genius of the Fall Gathering at Glorieta: it is relationship. Birthed as a helpful balance to a movement increasingly represented by large and very popular national conventions, it was started as a quiet spot in the schedule for folks to get together to foster friendships and to kindly collaborate on the spiritual formation of one another as well as a chance to gently push one another in thinking and practice and artistic expression. It was something for some undefined ‘us’, which was simultaneously meant as a gift to some undefined ‘them’. The idea was to take something great and give it away, and it is magical.
I’m learning all of this the hard way, I guess, as I realize how much I’ve been given over these years, and as I endeavor to give something back. This year, I may have done too much, or not done it very well– my introverted self was weary much of the week, as I did some coordination of shopping and food, and as I led a conversation about grief and faith. All of which was enjoyable, and rewarding, but which ultimately took me away from the center of things. I got so distracted doing stuff that I missed connecting with my old friends, and quite nearly avoided making the new friendships that pop up in places like this. Fortunately, at the eleventh hour I was saved by friends new and old, and have come away from another Gathering feeling very full, and very fortunate.