Monday, August 12, 2013

The Wildness of The Goose

Last night we got home from our first Wild Goose weekend.  I am 100% saturated, overwhelmed, at peace, and all of the other emotions that can land one both impassioned and immobilized.

What I am most overwhelmed by is that I had an encounter with God- and I was able to experience Him in a fresh way- something my wounded heart desperately needed.

I experienced Him most clearly in a remote spot of the campground- surrounded by strangers that I instantly connected with more than even friends of years upon years.  We gathered around a picnic table and shared our stories of grief.  Each of us shared our raw emotion and were met with tears, hands of mercy, and words of comfort.  Everyone around the table knew better than to say those cliche' remarks I've mentioned before- because everyone had experienced the hurt that came with those phrases.  None of us had the same cause for our grief, yet all of us had been changed by it.  And, for the first time in months, I was surrounded by real people- professional Christians- who shared that their grief caused them to relearn their relationships with God.  And no one freaked out by those words.

My newest best friend, Frank.
Our time was wrapped up by a rain shower- not uncommon for our whole time at The Goose.  As several of us walked away from that sacred table together, we decided to seek shelter for a bit and ride out the bulk of the downpour under a tarp or a tent.  As we went for our nearest option, I spent a glorious moment in time sharing life with a magnificent man and had one of the most holy moments that I've enjoyed.  He spoke my language and affirmed my struggle, my heart, and my life in a way that I will treasure.  He shared the story of his childhood- ironically one I had studied in school, but I was given a glimpse of the intimacies of those moments left out of the assigned readings.  I felt a moment of privilege in hearing his wisdom- and at the same time, felt like we were just sharing life as friends.

And that was one of the biggest beauties of The Goose for me.  NEVER have I been to a festival/ conference/ anything of the sort where it just was.  There was no pretense of the speakers.  There was no "us" versus "them".  We were all there to learn from each other- and no one came across as "I'm just here because my agent lined this up."  I was able to tell Phillip Yancey how I had, for years, gained insight from his readings.  I hugged Glennon from Momastery and we chatted briefly about her offline summer... and squealed about our love of the Indigo Girls.  Krista Trippett laughed when I apologized for the rain and told me she was sure I didn't cause it.  My new friends Mike and Mallory are wise in their fields and I run to their books to get to know them better.  My new friends Alice and Kylin Ann are pilgrims like me and we connected over tears and role play.  I spent extended time with the people from Food for the Hungry and know them as well as their mission.  Cindy Morgan laughed (grimaced?) as I told her I had performed one of her songs at a talent show.  Nadia Bola-Weber ate my homemade salsa.  Sybil MacArthur taught me how to journal in person- rather than just through her book that I've enjoyed reading.  I have never been less and more star struck at the same time.

I came home with a bag of new books to challenge my heart and my mind and multiple new CDs to continue to sing words of truth over my home.  I have assignments of finding children to sponsor and allowing myself continued time to heal.  I have full journal pages and a renewed desire to write.

And I have more mud and dirt in my clothes than I know what to do with.

Part of the beauty of this weekend for me was sharing it with Dan and Elizabeth.  I won't lie- I would have likely gotten more out of it had I not had to worry about where E was or what she was doing.  But having her sit on my lap as I (and Emily and Amy) sang "Power of Two" to her was a moment I won't soon forget.  Watching her drag her hair through the mud while she was swinging made me cringe and rejoice at the same time.  Having her ask questions about why we want tomato workers to get paid "One Cent More" and having her play in rivers that nourished my childhood were both balms to my weary soul.  Talking with her about our obligation to help others and watching her make friends instantly... good stuff.

And one final thought on the "Christian-y" part of it all...  The last conference I attended was Passion in Atlanta with some of my favorite people.  It was about as different from The Goose as one could imagine.  People were showered and dressed "nicer".  The speakers were more mainstream Evangelical.  The Goose, however, had names I had mainly heard on NPR versus Christian Radio.  They were people from a variety of heritage, and their journeys to Christianity were entirely different.  I heard a speaker use words I had never heard from the Passion stage- both in their content and their 4-letter-ness.  I saw same gender couples talking about their "right" to be in the church.  I had one-on-one moments with some big names- something that Kristian Stanfield should be thankful I wasn't allowed to do at Passion.  Shoot, even prior to attending The Goose I had another Christian tell me that he was thankful for people "searching" (his assumption that Nothing had yet been found by Goose attendees.)  I quickly asserted that we Geese had indeed found Something... and that His name was Jesus.

I found myself continuing to reflect on the differences of these 2 conferences until Phillip Yancey put it in perspective for me during his Friday talk.  He commented on the differences in the Right and Left parts of Church... and gently pointed out that we all- for all of our hipster attire, or patchouli wearing, or  agenda pushing, or Toms-buying, or barefoot walking, or Chris Tomlin loving, or Indigo Girls loving, or conservative or liberal... we all are just looking to Jesus to guide us.  It's hard for me- as someone who loves both sides of this continuum- to remember that as I see each side hurt the other.  However I think if we look at that- our shared desire to follow the One who loves- and stop pointing out how the other is "wrong"... that will be when real healing will come.

Grace and peace, friends.  And God Bless indoor plumbing.


Kay Windsor said...

Becky, I almost felt as though I was there with you when I read your post. And the rainbow photo is wonderful!

I just read an introduction to a book called Wild Goose Chase that has a reference to the name that Celtic Christians had for the holy spirit: An Geadh-Glas or "wild goose."

I am so glad that you found kindred spirits and grace and healing at this time and place. Peace to you today.

Anonymous said...

Your new BFF is Frank Schaeffer?! How cool is that. I've read several of his books. I emailed him and told him I resonated with his journey, growing up in evangelical world. I told him I was thinking about quitting ministry and start writing. He told me I should just quit and do manual labor. Haha. So he crushed my dream. Oh well. Thanks for sharing your experience. I've read about the Wild Goose and would love to do it some time. love you.

dsrtrosy said...

So glad you had this experience. I had something similar at last year's WGW in is still resonating in my soul. Blessings!

Mo said...

Thank you for sharing, I wish I could have been there, as well. Maybe next year!