One year ago today, I got in my car with a someone I just met to embark on a 9 hour drive to a place that had been mystical/magical in my mind, to dive into an event I knew a little bit about, and felt deep in my bones that I was right where I needed to be.
Having lived in Virginia for 25 years and being involved in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and youth and parish weekends at our own magical place called “Shrine Mont,” I’d heard about Kanuga for years and, for me, it was a place of mystery and magic.
I knew about Patti Digh’s camp in 2013, I felt I’d done enough “stretching” in my life in 2013, and I was more afraid to go than I wanted to go; so, I didn’t go. When Patti Digh’s Life Is A Verb Camp 2014 came around, I signed up in July; I decided I wanted to go more than I was afraid to go – as long as I could attend within my strict introvert parameters.
The Summer went on and Fall approached and camp was getting closer. A couple/few weeks before camp, a note was posted on the Facebook page asking if anyone was driving down from the DC area and would like company on the drive. I thought on it for a while and responded to Susan that I was driving and would like the company (more stretching for me).
Shortly before camp, an email came out asking if anyone would like to move from the Inn to a cabin. <sigh> I thought about it and sent a note indicating I would move and really needed to have my own room, like I’d signed up for in the Inn (even more stretching – oiy). I was put in a cabin with Heather, it would be just the two of us in the cabin (I thought I could handle that).
On the morning of November 5, Susan arrived just before 8AM and we put her stuff in the car and off we went. We arrived at Kanuga just around 5, the sun had just set and you could see the color of the leaves on the trees, I could smell the trees and the mountain air and feel the calm. I go to the mountains to feed my soul; as soon as we crossed the mountains into the Shenandoah Valley, I could feel the hubbub of home and the metro DC area just melt away.
The weekend unfolded and it became clear to me that my life was changing. There was a shift happening – to what and to where, I had no idea. This last year has been amazing. I have stretched more than I could have imagined. I have met some of the most genuine, honest, loving people I have ever known. I have started on an honest journey to figure out who I am in this world, in this skin I wear. I have said “Yes” (or didn’t say “No”) to doing things that are outside of my comfort zone.
In September, I went to the sea, to the Pacific Coast in CA for Patti Digh’s Life Is A Verb Camp 2015 and spoke about race and where I belong, which is something that my family never talked about; something that I’ve never talked to anyone about before I started working on my talk. I wrote my talk and practiced it aloud in my house. I read it only once to a special, dear friend who has been my companion and guide on this journey; we got together on FaceTime the night before I left for the west coast. This was the only time I’d said these words to someone else before standing in front of the campers in Asilomar. I’ve lived my talk my entire life and had never spoken those words aloud. Saying it out loud never seemed important and events in this country over the last couple of year have made them important. I’m still exploring what it all means and I don’t think that is a short journey.
My life changed one year ago today and this new life, this new journey has just begun and I am curious where it will take me next!