Happy new year, friends!
I’m just back from three days in Winnipeg for meetings about LGBTQ2S+ inclusion in my (nearly life-long but now former) denomination — meetings I invite you to read about at John Longhurst’s blog Time to Tell if the topic interests you — and I’m sated with the good memories of it all. With how smoothly the travel went; with the smallness of the Winnipeg airport and its lovely feel of blue (probably on account of the “Aperture” sculpture there); with the sight of the Human Rights Museum while walking to it mornings. With the museum itself, such an appropriate venue for meetings on this topic. With the warm greetings from old friends. (Is there anything sweeter than to be greeted by name?) With the Open Space process and how the meetings unfolded, in a large sense of safety, listening, and conversation. With its sacred intensity. With uncertainly about outcome beyond these days that nevertheless opened into hopefulness and even awe at what can be accomplished when people come together and explore possibilities. With the experience of belonging (the operative context for me, as stated above, being former after long-time), which registered as a longing for similar safety and inclusion on behalf of others.
Not for a minute was this about me, I’m not saying that, but I am saying these days were a gift, both in a return to where I lived some four decades and to a particular kind of participation in community. I honestly don’t lament former, it’s what’s necessary and chosen, but long-time can sometimes be a pang: as in, how does one incorporate the past without undue nostalgia or glossing over reasons for no longer fitting — for leaving, that is — but with love for what was given me in the environment in which I was raised and nurtured, in which I gave in return. It’s hard to articulate except to say that I’m glad these meetings happened and very glad that I went.