I haven’t been doing a whole lot of blogging this year, and there are a number of reasons behind that. First, I’ve been incredibly busy. I’m not traveling as much as I did last year, though there have been and are some cool trips on my schedule. But also, I haven’t felt it was appropriate to share my thoughts, as I’ve been in the pits a lot emotionally, and I’m of the mindset that if I can’t say anything nice, or positive, or at least funny, I should just stay quiet.

Still, even with all of the tear-filled nights I’ve spent this year, there have been some incredible, grace-filled moments/hours/days to counter the down and out moments. Even now, I just glanced out the window and was taken aback for a moment with the beauty. Some may not think of it that way, as I’m looking out into a parking lot downtown, with rows and rows of cars and asphalt and such. But when I did turn and look out, my eyes fell first on the brilliant emerald-green grass, practically glowing in sunlight – and hey, we’ve got glorious sunlight and a cloudless azure sky above. Even the rainbow-colored array of cars in the lot glints in the sun.

I’m working on floating back down to the real world, having been on a mountain-top experience this past weekend. I was blessed to be on a team leading a Cum Christo weekend, a spiritual event presenting a “crash course” workshop in Christian living. I had attended a similar weekend back in 2002, but neither my sponsor for that event nor the team that led it did much to emphasize the importance of maintaining my relationship with the community following the weekend. The Spirit drew me to the Cum Christo community when I joined the Church of the Resurrection parish in 2006, and my involvement in the community has grown significantly in the past couple years.

For this weekend, the 144th retreat held for women by this community, I was assigned the role of musician, being responsible for leading the music for praise & worship, during our team’s formation process and throughout the weekend itself. My thirty years of music ministry experience certainly provided me the skills and confidence to fill this role, but it never ceases to amaze me how the Holy Spirit could surprise me. Somehow we seemed to always have the most appropriate song selected, often without even knowing what would be presented.

Now our team is thrown back into our own environments in “the Real World.” We’ve had a number of e-mails broadcast among the members, sharing our thoughts and feelings, looking back on the weekend and expressing our collective disappointment that our time together is effectively done. But, every end is also a beginning. We’ve concluded our time as this team, this particular, distinctive combination of sixteen mind/heart/soul components (people) who bonded into a single cohesive unit, singularly motivated to provide the best experience for our candidates (retreat attendees) that we could. This was definitely an example of “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” For these 26 women who attended, this was the precise formula of team members, leaders and spiritual directors to meet them where they were on their 26 individual walks.

The team, though, became a family – that singular unit. So the “disassembly” of the team is a painful process. Fortunately, we don’t have to quit “cold turkey.” As team members, we are asked to attend the next three Ultreyas, weekly meetings designed to renew the Christian friendship experienced on the weekend and to strengthen our personal relationship with Christ. The “graduates” of the weekend course, now lovingly called “Babe Chicks,” are strongly encouraged to attend these three Ultreyas in order to reinforce the elements presented on the weekend, and to introduce them to more members of the community. As the team musician, I will be leading the music for those Ultreyas, too.

Having team members in attendance helps the Babe Chicks by surrounding them with familiar faces to foster their sense of belonging in this community. I know that if I hadn’t seen folks from Resurrection when I attended Ultreyas, I would’ve been considerably less inclined to return. But with each meeting, we expand our circle of friendship. I know that everyone there shares my love of Christ and desire to share that with fellow Christians, and this understanding reduces the strain on my introverted mind when mingling with these not-yet-friends.

I have a long way to go to process all that I gained from this Cum Christo, and I’m hoping life doesn’t get so crazy that I get too far away from the experience to be able to retain all the nuggets of wisdom I received. I took a lot of notes during all the talks, so that should help. But I need to commit to reviewing those notes to dig deeper and put this experience into practice in my daily walk. After all, the ultimate goal of Cum Christo is to keep us living authentic Christian lives as Christian leaders and disciples of Christ. Allelu – oops, nope, can’t finish that one until Easter Sunday. 😉

Oh, and since this is also my knitting blog… in the nearly-two months since my last post, I finished four pairs of socks, two scarves, a doily, a shawl, a pair of fingerless gloves, a cowl and a tank top. I’m 80% done with the wedding afghan, and hoping to finish that by the end of this month, and I’m 30% of the way through another shawl, this one being one I’ve designed myself. Further, I have signed up to be part of the Socks for Soldiers (SFS) team, knitting socks for active military. After all, I couldn’t possibly have enough knitting projects already on my plate…

Knit On.