This past weekend came at just the right time in my life. On Friday, I travelled north to my former place of residency and to my former church to attend a short UBC retreat. We drove to Latham Springs, a very shabby version of Windemere in Missouri (good in its own right, but not much compared to the pretty Windemere). Friday night, Mike Evans spoke on spiritual journeying, the importance of journeying out story. He gave us questions to ponder and journal about - thought provoking and self-disclosing. I loved it. Saturday morning's session was led by Kyle and focused on reading the Bible. It was geared mostly towards the college kids (and other new-ish members) I think, introducing them to a more open way of reading the Bible and interacting with the scriptures, typical to UBC conversation, but not typical to traditional, conservative churches. Although I was nervous about knowing many people, or fitting into the various cliques that would be represented at the weekend, I tagged along and participtated in some great "fellowship" and silly girl time.
Around noon on Saturday, the retreat ended and I headed further north to another church located in Dallas where I met up with Big Phil's big brother, Darrell Shepherd to record a demo. With just his guitar and my voice, we recorded ten songs (six originals) for me to have in case I find an accompanist here in Austin. This makes it easier to say, "Can you play this?" or "What could you add to this?" when trying to find a good music match. More than that though, the recording of the songs proved very theraputic offering me a chance to spit out my sorrow in song.
Moving to Austin has been hard. I am no longer a student - really for the first time in my life. Finding a job didn't come easy post-graduation, and even now that I have one, it certainly isn't what I'd call consistant. Emotionally it's been challenging letting go of people, meeting new ones, and still trying to find my niche in the grand scheme of relationships that run our lives. I live out of boxes in a small bedroom and although my roomies are fabulous, i still have felt displaced and disoriented, not all there, if you will. Most of my life (my books, my research, my art) is boxed up in a garage in Waco. I haven't sung seriously since Summer 2003 when I was in Into The Woods, and have had no real crative output. All this to say that singing this weekend provided me a great opportunity to unload my life in song, in music, in the pushing of all my air through my vocal chords and having it produce a song so much more beautiful than what I often feel.
I returned to Austin yesterday afternoon to find a "care package" from Bethany Chance on my desk: roses from her garden, a CD, chocolate and a home-made card. This was the icing on the cake, a little bit of incarnate love added to a very spiritually renewing weekend.
So I guess I'll say thank you Mike, Kyle and UBC, thank you Darrell, thank you Bethany and thank you God for holding out hope for me. I hope in You too.