Last week we attended the Gathering ("Quaker camp" in church terms) for the first time. This year it was at Bowling Green University in OH. It was a mixed experience.
The best parts were: the plenaries (pre-talk singing, George Lakey, Phil Gulley, mini-concerts); the week-long workshop (mornings 9-11:45; we attended the workshop on non-violent communication); and the people we met.
The worst parts were: the distance between buildings (7/10th mile from the dorm to the main building; 2 miles to the parking lot where our car was); the heat & un-airconditioned dorm; Amy's & my own injuries. I have a stress fracture in one foot, which is painful but not horrible; still, it swells after a day of walking around. On Monday of the Gathering, we were riding on a golf cart from our dorm to the dining hall for dinner; we were on the backwards-facing seat. My hat wasn't secured with the chin-strap & flew off my head. While I was contemplating options, Amy stood & stepped off the cart, went down onto the concrete sidewalk on one knee & bounced off it onto her back, hitting the back of her head (i.e., her superhero cape didn't work!). Results: a strained ankle, twisted & abraded knee, & mild concussion, which we didn't realize at the time. She insisted that she was okay enough to go on to dinner & the plenary, not to a doctor, & I wasn't insistent enough until Thursday that she see a doctor. We did get her knee cleaned up, & an energy-worker sought us out before the plenary. I felt guilty about my hat (& kept the strap on after that!), embarrassed about needing to ask for help, miserable with the heat, & grouchy about the noise & chaos of the dining halls. On Thursday afternoon, the doc wrapped her ankle & told Amy to stay off her feet & keep the ankle elevated & iced. We came home a day early, after our workshop concluded & we ate lunch on Friday.
I was grateful for the healing center, the volunteer doctor, the organizer who got us into an air-conditioned dorm (even if it was only for 1 night), the volunteer golf cart drivers (yes, we kept riding!), & those who helped me move from one dorm to another.
Our "lend a hand" volunteer gig was a couple of hours in the healing center (massage & energy workers had 10-12 tables set up in the room; compassionate listeners could use the loft). We "held the space in the Light" (aka prayed & meditated & concentrated on the energy flow of the space). I experienced really deep worship/meditation, & afterward experienced a couple of hours of serious grouchiness. Does this happen to others? Why?