First session of the convention today: choir orientation. On the way to the rehearsal room, I ran into Bonnie S., a member of my old congregation in California. It's been almost two years since I saw her, and it was great to catch up a little bit. She was on her way to the PCD District In-Gathering, so I dropped in briefly to see who else I knew. I saw Cilla and Andrew, Reed S. and Ruth F. Wow! How wonderful to see familiar faces!
Choir was great. This year there are two co-directors, Jeannie and Jason, and they are both young and enthusiastic. "Too enthusiastic for me!" grumbled one older lady later on the escalator. The music varies widely, from Latin influenced to Barbershop to Broadway to Plainchant. Lots of rhythm, lots of movement. I sat next to Alma, who was also in my section in Boston.
Sean met me after rehearsal and we had a fabulous dinner at the local steak place, del Frisco's.
7:30 was Opening Celebration and Plenary I. I dutifully wore my red bandanna to signal fellow CLFers, but could not find them. We spent 10 minutes wandering the huge hall (a hockey arena), looking for flashes of red. I saw one teen in the youth caucus wearing a bandanna and one hat with a bandanna hat band, but no CLFers. How disappointing! Sean and I sat in the nosebleed section and my disappointment turned to anticipation as the band "The Lucky Pierres" opened the meeting.
I was thrilled to watch the banner parade, as usual. I moved a bit closer to take some photos, hoping to see the CLF banner, but no luck. The last message on the email list was asking for someone to carry the banner, but I don't think there were any takers. I would have volunteered, but my feet can't handle that much marching/standing/waiting in line. I did see many banners from places familiar to us, and cheered them on loudly.
I did not realize that this year's GA theme was Nurturing Families and I have to admit that it is not really my bailiwick. But some of the family stories presented tonight were quite moving and its hard to NOT support such a broadly do-good theme. Families: nothing really controversial there.
NINE new UU congregations welcomed into the fold; that's pretty impressive.
As often happens with me, I was most moved during the singing. There is something about opening voice and breath that also opens my heart, and I choked up several times. During "Turn, Turn, Turn," I couldn't make it through the phrase, A time for peace, I swear its not too late. It is good to be moved to tears; it cleanses the soul and hammers home the important things.
After the celebration, we headed up Main St. to catch our bus home, and ran into Bonnie again with Pam A. Pam threw her arms around me and said, "Oh, I thought I'd never see you again after you moved away!" We agreed to try to get together for a dinner/lunch/drink/coffee here in Ft. Worth.
Even though I was a bit sad to not find and make some new CLF friends today, it was wonderful to see some old friends. Tomorrow morning is the CLF worship service, so I'll take my bandanna and try again. In the meantime, the warmth of my reunions with carry me through the night.