Wow, GA is really wearing me out! I'm just not used to going non-stop all day anymore.
Today's highlights: CLF worship...great, two good sermons, tons of fun, upbeat music, got to put a few faces with names, mostly staff members.
Needed tickets to attend Intergenerational Lunch and tix were sold out days ago. Note to organizers: more capacity needed at this event! Had to walk to Radisson Hotel for a fast salad for lunch. Convention center is 4 blocks long, plus two to the hotel, then all the way back to the far end. Yikes, more walking than I've done in many months.
Good choir rehearsal, lots of laughing. Tenors all moved to one section so some strong voices in my ear to help me learn.
Quick walk through the exhibit hall, found the CLF booth, signed up for a Monday morning shift. Feet killing me; so much walking!
Short worship service before Plenary 2 was very moving. I couldn't make it all the way through the hymn without tears...what was THAT all about? Hymn was Wake Now My Vision. Young woman minister, I thought she was excellent and had to look hard for her after the service to thank her. Hard on the heels of this service and in the same space was Plenary, so it was a bit chaotic.
Tried once more to find the red bandanna crew, and finally gave up. Feeling pretty isolated, and the beginning of plenary was introductions and thank yous and awards and stuff. I didn't know anyone. Finally spot one man with bandanna. I leapt from my seat, greeted him and said, "Let's sit together!" He replied that he was looking for his wife, then we could sit down. I watched him search and search for her (its a HUGE hall) and I just couldn't stand on my feet any longer. At this point, I was done with looking for CLFers, so I sat in a random row. A very pleasant looking lady smiled at me, moved over a chair and made room. I noticed that her name tag said she was a minister. Her tacit welcome was just what my sore heart needed, and I settled in next to her like a baby bird (the seats are REALLY close together).
Later, during discussion of the Study Action Issues, she and I whispered together. I found her to be quite thoughtful and observant. She had to leave early; I never did get her full name. Bless you, anonymous minister lady, for helping me through Plenary.
Found two parts of Plenary to be moving: the presentation of the Quimby Congregation from Port Townsend, WA and the nice memorial slide show of UUs who died this year and left money in their wills to the UUA. All those names and photos...surely, they were all well loved and even in death were giving, optimistic fellow church members. Bless you, spirits of those who have passed.
After Plenary, where Sean met me in the final 15 minutes, we headed to the Petroleum Club a few blocks away for a cocktail reception for those who have donated to the UUA (either now or via estate planning). The food was great, the music was hoppin', and I saw Cilla, Andrew, Bonnie and Pam again. The theme was "Hats Off to You" and we were encouraged to wear funny hats. Sean brought me my pink fuzzy bunny ears hat and dozens of people gave me the thumbs up. Only about 10% of the attendees wore any hat, and pink ears stood out. Oh well, I don't mind looking goofy.
And even better, the ears started several really nice conversations. One couple, Sandy and Bruce from Brevard, North Carolina, were so interested in our story. It was very validating. I have to admit that everyone who has heard us say we live in our RV and travel has thought it was just great. People I met yesterday have come up to me today and asked further questions or introduced me to someone else: "This is the woman who lives in her bus!"
I've been looking so hard for new friendships through the CLF, but the truth is that the friends are everywhere at GA, from every congregation. And after all, CLF is just a variation on all UU congregations. The values are the same, people are the same everywhere. I've never had trouble making new friends, and here is a conference with over 3,000 of them. Bless you, smiling faces, outstretched hands, hugging arms. It is good to be back in my UU home.