girl growing

and a space for her to play in

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

the journey continues

right now i'm in the car with shannon hopkins and jonny baker  baker and we're driving to bath to visit with jon birch. these three have got some work to do on  proost  and so, despite just coming back from greenbelt, we're on our way at 8am. 
one of the places i wanted to see outside of the stops on 'tessera' or the training trail i'm on was bath. luckily, one of the proost publishers jon birch lives there.
when i found that out i thought i might have to skip bath because of who i pictured jon birch to be-his asbo jesus website seems a bit harsh and critical. i guess i just assumed jon birch would be just that, but instead he's kind and hilarious. 
so, here we are...and i get to see the home of jane austen.
i suppose it's time to be clear about why i want to stay in europe for the next couple of months and i think i need to tell most of the greenbelt festival story.
this will require this post to be rather long, so bear with me.
when i arrived at the feig feast on thursday night and then the first day of greenbelt i was self-conscious, embarrassed by my blessings, and kind of cowered when i came around all these people i was star-struck by.
it's not that i wasn't proud of wellspring or the fact that i can string together lines to create a blessing, but i guess i just didn't seem them as a big deal.
one of the first things that happened was john o'donahue.
well, he didn't happen-unfortunately he passed away this past january.
he's a past greenbelter and so greenbelt did an article on who he was in their 'big book'. they publish the book to help us newbies find our way around the madness that is the greenbelt festival.
o'donahue's newest book is titled benedictus: a book of blessings
i need to track down that 'big book' so i could tell you exactly what it said, but all in all, the man nails what a blessing is and says it much more eloquently than i do.
i wish he had been alive so i could have sat him down.
i think we would have had things to discuss.
and when i said in my last post that i felt validated more than ever in my life, that needs some explanation too.
i suppose that the parts of me that felt they needed to cower or to be embarrassed were extricated from their hiding place.
i was forced to face what i've done and realize that it is good.
the first night there i sat in an interview with proost and got a chance to explain where the blessings have come from and why they're written.
people sat around in a dimly lit meeting room, sitting on huge pillows with jonny baker's son, joel, DJing. 
the whole thing was really groovy and i felt my cool factor rising. 
(just kidding)
it was a hard thing, to read those blessings out loud.
mostly because i was afraid people wouldn't get it.
those blessings were written for a people in a community from their discussions and their feelings. they are wellspring. how could i expect anyone to understand?
(which, kind of seems like many of the stories from the bible-perhaps some things just can't translate)
but there were people that loved the blessings regardless and went out right away and bought the book-that makes me blush.
the next couple of days i spent working the proost stand-selling people the database and selling  myself. i was forced to tell people why they should invest in proost, and i guess why they should invest in me. it's a funny thing.
on saturday night was the proost lounge-several people on the proost label sang, DJed, read from their books...
and at the end i read a blessing.
before greenbelt started i asked shannon whether greenbelt was the end of her year or the beginning of her new year.
she said it was the end of her year.
in the blessing i wrote of how to some greenbelt is the beginning and to some it is the end (among other things)
but at the end people really got what a blessing could be.
so many people helped me see how interesting a blessing is in literature and just how profound it really can be, especially if you do what i did before i read it out loud-i asked permission to give it.
people found that interesting, that i should ask for their permission.
there's much more to say about blessings, 
but i need to get on with the story.
the last night of greenbelt shannon, her friend shelton green who attended and stayed with us, jeff waldo from houston, and i all went to friday's for dinner.
i was in need of some american food and was starting to miss home.
during the festival i had tried an english pie (lots of meat and potatoes), a pork and apple chutney burger (andrew jones' favorite and one of the reasons he keeps attending greenbelt) along with lots of other foods and i just needed some chicken tenders and honey mustard.
that night i was in the shower (my favorite place) and i found myself in an almost out of body experience...i have been watching myself go through this whole trip.
i suddenly realized that i liked myself and wanted to be me (an interesting thought that some people might not understand),
but more than anything i saw that my life is 'big'.
if you've been following along you may have heard me speak of other people i know in this manner-other people that i think have 'big lives'. who do great things, are making an impact, who are changing the world, and people i want to be like or at least resemble. not as a way of not being myself, but in the realization that i want some of what they've got.
i hope that makes sense.
so anyway, in the shower i realized that i have a big life.
i have talent, i have ability, i have things i want to do and i can do them without fear.
i realized how much my posture had changed throughout the weekend.
i had been massaged into a posture of confidence and love for myself and what i do.
in that exact same moment two other things happened:
1) i realized that i didn't have to use my relationship with ryan to define who i am/was.
i think over the past two years i've been allowing my relationship with him to help identify who i am and validate who i am. when i realized my life had become big, i was able to let the hold i had on ryan and our relationship go...which led to the second thing:
2) instead of needing ryan i am able to love him for who he is and not what he can do for me. i can choose him and love him without needing him the way i desperately did.
he and i have stayed in communication and have many more conversations and growth to go, but i was able to see all of these things in one moment...
and i cried,
but i wasn't on the bathtub floor being washed clean anymore.
it was different and inside i feel different.
in addition to all these realizations, i saw that i need to tell this story of my journey but more i need to tell the stories of all these places i've been.
not as some kind of a documentary or text book,
but as a story of connection and family.
i want to tell shannon's story.
i want to tell wellspring and harbor and our friends in houston's story.
i want to tell as many of the places i've been stories', but with permission and humility,
but i want it to be my story too.
i want to tell the stories of these people who have validated me in the past, 
and now in this new place like at greenbelt, 
but from the beginning with wellspring church  when the beautiful ken shuman gave me an 'internship' and when i met ryan and harbor and they allowed me to tell my story. 
i want to tell it from the start and i know i need a couple more months to visit some more places so it can feel finished (if it ever does).
we'll see how all that works out, but it feels as though i have a mission i need to accomplish.
it may not be a book and something else may come, 
but that's all i've got for right now.
i just know i need to write all this down.
sitting in greenbelt it felt as though there is revolution within the 'emerging-missional' revolution that is coming and it has something to do with my generation or the generations close to mine.
more things are changing and need to change.
i dunno, i just feel it.
pete rollins in some of his lectures used the term 'retroactive thinking':
it's thinking backwards.
the examples he gave are like a parent who, before having children thinks 'sure, maybe i'd like to have kids. whatever', but then once they have a child they realized that they don't know how they lived without that child.
the same is with people in love-they don't know how they survived without their partner but once they meet them it's as if their presence existed eternally.
pete rollins started his community out of a response or a need.
that's why i wrote the blessings,
and why i want to write this book.
i'll find the reasons and justifications and the beautiful eloquence of explaining it later.
right now i just need to get all of this out of my head and my heart.
i need to vomit it up and making sense of it will come later.
i just need it out of me.
so maybe that explains some more of why i think i should stay across the pond a big longer.
i need to email people and probably do some more explaining.
i don't want people to feel abandoned, or alone, or as if i'm never coming home...
because believe me, houston is home.
i can't stay here forever, but a couple more months already feels like they will fly by.
if i was to go home, i'd probably get a job to bide time until i figure out what i'm going to do since this training trail,
so instead i figure i'll just stay here.
there are jobs and money i can make.
writing and advertising for proost and shannon's got some 'sweet notions' shows she needs help with (she's working with a couple huge companies)
and i've lived off of $1,000 or 500 surviving is becoming easier. (i'm learning to budget dad! you should be so proud!)
so i know i can survive and last a few more months,
but i miss home.
i miss the people that make houston home.
but i hope this really does clear some things up...
we'll see.


Blogger Jim said...

thanks juli. great post. really clear. i'm so glad for this experience for you. stay until you have finished what you are there to do. and do it with the full blessings of the community you call harbor.

8:05 AM  

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