Re-Entry: Day 4 Post-conference

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Every June for the past nine years, I’ve attended the Cedar Falls Christian Writers Workshop.  I no longer go for the writing and publishing aspect, though I do continue to learn something new every year. Instead, I attend because of the God-encounters, the connections old and new.
And every year, I promise myself I will indulge in a period of solitude and prayer afterwards, to give myself some time to decompress and process the intense spiritual experience. The “high” can last for days. The sky is invariably bluer, the grass smells sweeter, the air is crisp, I’m in awe of birds flying overhead. I smile at everyone, stop to hold doors open for others, go out of my way to be helpful and kind, basking in the residual aura of the spiritually-charged atmosphere I’ve just encountered.
While I’d like at least two days of quiet contemplation, flipping through handouts and business cards, journaling and perhaps diving into one of the books I’ve purchased, the suitcase demands to be emptied and a load of laundry must be done. The cat and the daughter vie for my attention. The garbage can is overflowing, the sink full of dishes. Less than 48-hours after I return home, I’m back at work, feeling the full effects of re-entry, returning to reality.

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These are my people, my tribe, my church. I get a little glimpse of heaven in this building called Fellowship Hall. 

It was at this very conference I discovered something broader than happiness; eudaimonia, a Greek word loosely translated as finding the purpose of your life.

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Just ten years ago, I couldn’t even imagine getting up in front of a room and talking. Now, public speaking is one of my passions. David saw that in me before I did, and God planned for it all along.

One of my first workshops was a two-hour couponing one at a community college in October 2011. David was at the back of the room watching my presentation. At one point I glanced up and the look on his face made me catch my breath. It was because of his presence I could relax when a reporter came to do a news article. I was smiling at the man behind the one holding the camera.

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“I love seeing you like this. You come alive in front of an audience,” David commented on the way home.

I feel alive at this conference; seeing friends and mentors I might only see once a year, meeting broken and gentle souls, experiencing small miracles, giving and getting more hugs than I can count. I am a better person because of these people. I want to spend each and every day with them and other kindred souls.

Someday, I will.