Wednesday, August 12, 2015

looking forward, looking back

A week tomorrow I set off towards a WGYF+10 reunion in the Kahuterawa Valley near Palmerston North. The event was originally planned for June, but due to clashing diary dates it got rescheduled for August which proved to be a Good Thing as the original date saw much of that region under floodwater, the silt from which is causing major problems and it will take years for the Whanganui & Manawatu River regions to fully recover. The new date also happens to be bang on the actual anniversary of the event which was 16-24th August 2005!

I've got a box of things that I've been putting together ready to take with me - various photos, cards and reports, plus a pile of FWCC stuff as the reunion is also partially preparation for those heading to Peru in January. I've also got a bundle of things I'm gifting on as part of my decluttering/downsizing, plus a patchwork quilt to deliver.

There have been a number of elements surrounding this event that have held a certain symmetry with those of 10yrs ago. The new dates mean Fran can no longer be with us for the reunion as she's relocated back to the UK (for now!) and as she said, the whole WGYF planning and happening was whilst she was transitioning between the UK and Aotearoa in the opposite direction. Charlotte, Jonathan and Thomas had all been at the 2004 FWCC Triennial with me in Auckland, and Charlotte and Thomas will now be heading for Peru. And once again I'm in major clear-out mode, although this time with no intention of moving anywhere in a hurry, let alone emigrate! I'm sure as the weekend progresses next week we'll find more such connections.

Today's major mission was sorting through a pile of paperwork and filing. Originally I just started to look for something (which I've yet to find!) but the task took on a life of it's own. It was rather therapeutic to consign a huge amount of paper to the recycling, fire and printer pile. That which ended up on the fire was a collection of UK official paperwork that had long since passed it's 7 year 'keep until' date. Another step of my transition from one side of the world to the other. So after investing in a new concertina file I have now managed to reduce the amount of space such paperwork takes up quite considerably.

Towards the end of the pile of paperwork I was working through I found a piece I'd written, possibly for our GM or MM newsletter, but I can't remember writing it let alone why! It had been written at some point during my time as the WGYF administrator, so it felt timely to rediscover it. So I can recycle the paper version I'll type it up as a post (Tomorrow? Too near bedtime to start that now!). It was good to get a reminder of that part of my spiritual journey as it is all too easy to remember the practical challenges of making such an event happen, whereas which parts of my spiritual life link to that event rather than anything in the subsequent decade I find a little harder to untangle now. Maybe I should re-read the first few months of this blog to remind myself of the impact, although I suspect more posts will be about the practicalities of emigrating!

Another reminder of what feels like a past life was a page I'd written up for a 'getting to know you' session at Summer Gathering - what isn't obvious is whether that's NYFSG (these days Summer Shindig) or Summer Gathering here as 'SG' could mean either! Reading through the games and ideas there are things I'd totally forgotten about - I haven't played 'Radio Cars' in years! Thankfully the notes are detailed enough to remind me how to play them all too, much better than a list I came across in one other clearout some years back that was just several columns of game names but with no explanations. Having said I'll help organize JYF Camp next year it is good resource to find - now to find somewhere to keep it where I'll be able to locate it again in time... such facilitation and planning is an area in life I feel decidedly rusty in. Yet a decade ago Ruth, Susie and I planned an entire Link Group w/e in 20 minutes! I found the cd I'd done for them for the Friday night epilogue a few days ago, I'm planning to recycle that one at Summer Gathering here after Christmas! I hadn't got to that Glasgow w/e due to WGYF commitments, so it feels right to be planning to reuse it in this time of remembering a decade ago.

Given the general inter-connectedness of all things Quaker, I suppose it is unsurprising to be coming across so many links, both tangible and otherwise, between life now and ten years ago. I think of the people who were such an enormous part of my life back then, and where they are now. Mary (from Australia) is even back in Edinburgh for the Festival! Bar some long standing couples, none of us are living in each others inboxes and daily lives in quite the same way as we were in the run up to WGYF. Many of those people I haven't seen since, which feels way too long. But an email I got this morning from Katy (who I've known since my early days as a YF in the UK, but who also lives here) summed up what I know to be true of those connections too: Whenever I catch up with you, and other friends, like this, I ask myself why it doesn't happen more often! But perhaps it doesn't really need to: we pick up from where we left off, however long the gap. 

The same is also true for those I'll see next weekend, and whether it is less than 8 weeks or over 8 years (the two extremes!) since I last saw them, I know I can look forward to a weekend of deep sharing, love, laughter and f/Friendship that I'll treasure and carry with me for years more to come.

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