It happened again! I fell victim to believing that success is found and measured in the product. As we come to the end of our second Spiritual Collective I found myself feeling pressure about quantitative tangible results which really belong to the business world not the faith community. The collective had come to the decision that they would have a coffee house style presentation where they would share their stories of awakening. Many were very excited by this idea. We picked the venue we set the date and began our preparations, and then it felt like it all came crashing down. One by one people sent messages indicating that they would not be able to participate in the coffee house due to work or other personal commitments.
As a leadership team we were disappointed, and a bit dumbfounded. What had happened? Were we unclear about our expectations? Was it the time of year? Was it the result of a long cold winter? Was it just the dynamics of the group or was it the theme?
The theme the group explored was “Is it enough? A journey of awakening.” There is no question that people had experienced a moment of awakening through our two months together. People left our first day long gathering energized and feeling as through they had really connected with some new people. We danced together, we sang together and we created. One of my favourite moments was when each person pretended they were an egg cracking open, and once they broke out of their shell they shared a word that described that moment for them. We also wrote one line stories as a collective group using these words. The group met again and wanted to share the things we had done in our first gathering with others, along with some of their own work, which was where the coffee house idea emerged from. Then, several weeks later our project team sat in my office wondering what to do. We debriefed, we evaluated and suddenly these three words rang through my ears – “is it enough?” Do we need to push the group to complete what they had started? Are we doing enough to bring our vision of this project to fruition?
That was our moment of awakening as a leadership team. In that moment God reminded us of the fact that our project is a collective process not a collective project. When we create together there is no guarantee that what we create is going to become a presentable piece. Many times in the creative process you have to walk away from it, sometimes for a few moments, and sometimes we never come back to it. Creation is a work in progress there are moments when we feel connected to the piece and moments when we do not. There are moments of joy in the process and moments of frustration. Creation like faith is a journey. In our exploration of the theme of awakening the collective identified several key moments that can happen on the journey of awakening. When we reach that aha moment, that moment of awakening we can do one of three things:
• hold onto the moment and simply bask in it
• we can run away from what they have discovered or pretend that it didn’t happen
• or we can be transformed by the moment
Our experience of this second collective reminds me of the parable of the sower from Matthew 13:1-9 where the sower sowed some seeds. Some fell along the path and the birds came and ate them, some fell on rocky ground where there wasn’t much soil and as they grew the sun scorched them. Some fell among thorns and the thorns choked them out as they grew. And some fell on good soil and produced grain.
We realized that we as a leadership team needed to let go of our expectations that there would be a tangible product created by the collective, that we like the sower needed to let the seeds go and fall where they may. As faithful followers of Jesus, we are called to engage one another to be in relationship and to walk with one another on the journey of faith. We need to trust that what we offer is enough.
We met our original intensions: people gathered, they explored a theme together while engaging the arts. They created, they shared, they connected and it was enough!
As a side note…since writing the first draft of this blog the group gathered again for closure and it turns out that they all had gone off and created something on their own which will now be shared in one of our worship services. God’s Spirit moves and the seeds grow in ways we can never predict.
Written by Rev. Karen Bridges