Sunday, February 19, 2012

pre-conference nerves

A few weeks ago I had an email conversation with Chris who was part of my amazing Management Group when I was the adminstrator for WGYF. She has been involved with the organising of the upcoming World Conference of Friends in Kenya this April that we'll both be going to.

Aside from being extremely excited about reconnecting with so many much missed Friends from other events and parts of my life my overwhelming feeling about going to the World Conference is a sense of trepidation. I was trying to explain to Chris why I found the prospect so scary, there was a great long list of reasons from arriving at Nairobi airport alone (how glad I was to have arrived in Manila with Thomas last year when we couldn't find our lift to the Asia West Pacific Section Gathering!), to the sheer size of the gathering - about a thousand people, and I feel peopled out at times during a week of 120 at our Summer Gathering! To coping with jetlag (something I really don't do very well) to facilitating adults in a home group, rather than 3 & 4yr olds who are my more usual age group these days. From brain overload (I'll have just been to an early childhood education conference for 4 days before flying out) to balancing getting to know new people and catching up with much loved F/friends I haven't seen in years... and so the list went on.

But this weekend I was catching up on some blog reading (due to feeling decidedly lousy thanks to a Hep B vaccination on Friday) and got around to reading a backlog of posts on Rachel's blog that I've been meaning to find time for for a while. She was going to be at the World Conference which I was so delighted about as we'd become very close during the WGYF planning, but for various reasons she now isn't, since getting her email saying so she had been much on my mind. Reading her posts I started to get clarity on what the underlying fear is that I have about the World Conference that makes the others pale into insignificance, it is the fear of being called.

When I attended the FWCC Triennial in Auckland in 2004 my life changed abruptly, from that moment on I spent the next 18mths of my life living and breathing, let alone organising, the World Gathering of Young Friends depsite having decided some years previously that I'd done my bit for Young Friends thank you very much and it really was someone else's time. Not only that but that trip to Aotearoa New Zealand had other far reaching effects on my life - well I'm here aren't I! Having said I would be the most unlikely candidate for emigration I ended up moving about as far away from home as was physically possible, ending up studying for an entirely new career (not ever really having had one before, unless being a 'professional' Quaker counts!) and embarking on a totally new life.

At WGYF itself there was no room in life for any more leadings, after all 6 weeks after it happened I was off on a plane to be Resident Friend in Wellington! But this time? I don't think I want another major life upheaval right now thank you very much, but since when has 'want' had anything to do with things? I have this resigned feeling that something else is going to be asked of me and I don't know what it is or what it might involve, but as is the way with such things I know there is no point trying to run away and hide from it as it will find me regardless.

But as Tom Petty so wisely pointed out 'the waiting is the hardest part...'

1 comment:

martin said...

Or if you'd prefer your songs in the key of Lennon: Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans