I have to tell you this: Traffic in Dallas is ridiculous. Downright insane. Traffic in Grand Prairie – the little community I lived in during my junior high and high school years – even worse. I hoped to hang out for a while, and I really wanted to drive over to Fort Worth – but I had to turn turn tail and run because I couldn’t get anywhere. Traffic jams all over the place. Crazy town.
I couldn’t live here.
All that aside, I’ve had an incredible two days in Texas. We finished a year-long involvement with a Multisite Artist Innovation Lab at Leadership Network, one of the finest organizational processes I’ve ever experienced. I feel empowered and encouraged and equipped to move forward in exactly the way I needed at this point in my role at PCC. It was specific and pointed and yet full of room for creativity and lots of doodling – right up my alley!
The experience is designed for a group, and we had three folks from our team attend the first meeting last year (I couldn’t go because my eyeball exploded, and you can read all about it here). This year I planned to attend, but none of my people could come. I was a little apprehensive, but the other teams there were so encouraging and kind and supportive that it really wasn’t an issue.
Oh, it was a little odd when we would disperse with our teams to go brainstorm
|Some of my brainstorming
work. That’s a picture of me and
Brian in the middle.
We’re both happy.
and talk through issues, and I had to work through all the different opinions of the voices in my head…but ultimately, it was perfect for me. I had very focused time to gather information and make decisions; the timing was right.
As a female in a somewhat male-dominated vocation – and one in which the fact that you are a female can become a divisive issue of major proportions – I was well-aware of the fact that I was the only woman there. But – to the credit of every person there – I did not feel one iota of disapproval, discredit or dismissal. I daresay that other than my home church, it’s the first ministry setting in which I felt completely comfortable as a woman in a leadership role. Regardless of whether or not everyone in the room agreed with the idea of a woman pastor, there was absolute respect and encouragement from everyone. Kudos to Leadership Network and the great crew of folks from Kentucky, Richmond and Keller who made it so. I’m grateful.
My head is full of things that still need to be processed; all I learned about in the context of leadership and multisite churches and artist development, as well as the deep joy of a long conversation with a friend I hadn’t seen for 20 years (what? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?) and a very rapid drive-by of the two houses I lived in while a resident of the DFW Metroplex. And my old high school. Lots to think about; and lots going in the hopper tomorrow when I hit up a local worship leader conference.
Bottom line: This is good processing time for me. I used to love a week alone; now, I start to miss my husband fairly quickly. I miss my boys. But this time is a privilege and a great opportunity to take stock, refuel, replenish my idea tank and come back better. The fact that I am in a place where I have some history has added a unique opportunity to find some footing, a solid sense of self that comes with memories and familiar turns on long-traveled roads.
I learned to drive here. I experienced a lot of “firsts” here. Some of my friends have never left, and I can’t imagine what that must be like, to have all that history so close at hand, all the time. Does it become commonplace? It must.
For me, I am driving around Dallas, full of memories. I catch a glimpse of Reunion Tower and remember Mike Spears taking me to a jazz concert. I pass the weird waterfall beer advertisement. Kroger is still there. I drove past Six Flags. I turned the corner of Corn Valley Road and saw the exact place where I saw my dad one night, when he busted me out after curfew. I drove past the house my parents moved into after I left for college and remembered how it felt to turn into the driveway and pull up, my minivan full of little kids excited to see grandma.
Windows of rooms that held my teenaged dreams. The driveway where we played basketball all summer long. Streets we rode on two wheels, before we learned to drive cars on those same blocks of concrete.
History and the future, all wrapped up in one.
It’s a good place to pull it all together.
|The kids making their way to their cars looked the same as we looked…30 years ago.|
|We left rural Western PA to live in this little house on Kirby Creek Drive. That’s Eric’s bedroom window in the front.|
|Mom and Dad bought this house after I graduated; this is the place the girls remember as “Grandma and Papa’s house”.|
|My selfie, making sure I was ready to be hip and cool.
(I sent this to Tony so he wouldn’t forget me.)