Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Working the Walk

I've just had one of the most exhausting, rewarding, fun, tedious, busy, well rested weekends of my life.

I worked on a team for the Women's Walk to Emmaus.  You might recall that I went on the Walk myself a while back.  And I brought from that weekend many faith lessons that still apply to my life today or things that I've changed because of the Walk that have continued to bless my life.

You can only go on the Walk once - but after you've gone, you can work the Walk.  And it takes a lot of work to make everything happen that needs to happen in this weekend.  This was my first time working on team.

The details of the work aren't all that important.  It was hard work, physical work, and it was non-stop 18 hour days.  Take every word of that very literally.

I was also part of a team.  And I have to say that we were a darn fine team.  Everyone worked to the best of their ability.  No one tried to be better than anyone else, no one complained or nagged or bossed, no one didn't pull their own weight.  Each member of the team worked hard - to their own personal limits.

I can't say that I am eager to jump right back into working another Walk.  I think I need time before I would do all of that to myself again.  Because I really did reach some serious lows.  But it's always what comes out of this sort of thing that is most important.

I have some new friends.  Some of them will just be people I see somewhere and we smile and chat and catch up.  We might connect on Facebook from time to time or text to say hello.  But I also connected to some women and I know that a more serious connection was made.  One of them called it a "heart connection."  And I have to agree.  There is something special in these women and I am eager to see where things go with us.

I have learned that doing a load of dishes in my sink at home is really not a big deal.  Doing 20 dishes compared to 100 dishes... massive perspective shift.

My husband demonstrated his love for me in some big ways- not only did he handle everything at home while I was gone but he made sure to take care of me when I got home.  I was exhausted.  And he easily could have needed a break from fatherhood and dumped the kids on me and gone out for the evening on Sunday.  Instead, he made arrangements to cancel all his plans and take care of the kids and take care of me.  I got a nap, a hot bath, an early bedtime.  I didn't have to get up and get the kids ready for school - I got up to help get them ready and then I went back to bed.  And he never complained.

I learned something about perseverance and limits.  On the first night, I twisted my knee.  And it caused issues and pain the rest of the weekend.  And sometimes I had to push through, find ways around, or flat out take a break.  I reached some serious low emotional points due to that physical pain coupled with exhaustion.  But it's often in those lows that we discover the real highs and can really be vulnerable enough to receive what is about to be given.

I have zero regrets coming out of the weekend.  It was hard.  It was exhausting.  Sometimes things didn't feel exactly fair or right.  But in each of those hard moments - I learned something.  I learned about myself, I learned about someone else, I learned about love or service or compassion.  I learned from the example of others and I learned from the work being done inside myself.

Here is what I know most of all... whenever I can set aside this block of time to focus only on working for God, serving for Christ, loving through that service... I may come away hurt and exhausted and overwhelmed but I also come away better.  And most important - thos who have received love and service come away better.  For the Pilgrims (those attending for the first time), there is a new fire, a new sense of purpose, a new understanding of love and grace and mercy.  For those who were on Team and served in a variety of capacities... we learned about each other, about ourselves, about service and compassion and giving and sacrifice.  We all leave the weekend better than when we came in.  This is the type of experience that truly builds His kingdom here.

In the Indianapolis area, the next Walks are in March at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.  March 6-9 for the Men's and March 13-16 for the Women's Walk.  There is no actual walking involved.  There is learning and experiencing God's love and grace in a variety of ways.  If you want to know more - I am happy to talk to you about it.  There is a form over in the right sidebar where you can email me if I don't know you personally.  If I do know you personally and you are interested in going on this amazing experience, I would love to talk to you about becoming a Pilgrim, about being your sponsor or helping you find a sponsor.



Liz Flaherty said...

I served two weeks ago at Epworth Forest. It is exhausting, but I truly think you get as much from serving as you do on your own walk!


Crystal said...

De Colores, Liz! New Hope Great Banquet #36 :-)