Our echoes roll from soul to souland grow forever and forever~Tennyson
After a week away, I’ve just returned home, not quite ready to share my personal experiences from Laity Lodge, where I participated in a writing workshop led by Lauren Winner and met up with my High Calling colleagues for the first time in person.
Instead, as I take time to process, I’m visiting my friends, listening to echoes roll from soul to soul as I read their reflections on our time together.
I encourage you to slip over to their homes online. Through their photography, poetry and poetic prose, you will feel much of what we experienced.
Claire Burge, our High Calling photo editor, sings of the afterness, the beginning.
In her post “When Paragraphs Become People,” Jennifer Dukes Lee, contributing editor for Family, describes the process of turning our moments and lives into sentences and paragraphs, “transmitting very self to very self”:
And in a stroke of blessing, we had a small window of opportunity to touch the person we’d already come to know through word and photo alone.
LL Barkat described a quiet moment alone one morning at Laity Lodge, when she escaped to silence.
Later, she followed up with a Spam story.
In addition to being the managing editor of High Calling Blogs, she has also been crowned the Queen of Spam, rescuing precious comments otherwise trapped in the spam-filter. You’ll see her royal can of Spam at her post “Crossing the Texas Border with Spam.”
Something’s changed, he writes.
I echo that, Glynn:
Yes, something’s changed.
High Calling content editor (work) Bradley J. Moore of Shrinking the Camel wrote, “The Word Made Flesh,” in which he describes the process of connecting with us, his High Calling colleagues, in person. “Soon you come to realize,” he writes, “that these people were your friends all along. Nothing has changed, except now you are placing your hand on their shoulder, or giving them a fist bump, or sharing your bread at dinner.”
I remember running before sunrise under these same brilliant stars and dipping my hands in the Frio River.I remember Ann and Ann doing dishes side by side, and Marcus drying. Tender arms around me when I break down over the missing, and fist bumps. I think of the hike we went on with Kenny and Scott—standing at the top of the canyon. And Ashley telling me about Kenny getting baptized in the Frio right in front of the lodge and the way she made the sacred hymns come alive for me. I remember.
Welcome Editor Dena Dyer wrote of “a kind of restlessness, a yawning ache that yearns for something I can’t find.” After highlighting each team member in “Finding Home,” she pointed out that:
He’s the cure–but we won’t be cured fully until we see Him in the flesh. Until then, we reach for heaven–our only true home–any way we can:
We create a place, born from depression and hardship, that will become a haven for starved artists and limping leaders…
We break bread with one another, crossing denominational lines and reveling in the unity of our brokenness.We find home anywhere we can, with the best people we can, until we run into His arms.
Content Editor (Culture) Sam Van Eman wrote “Spoiled Rotten: When Work and Play Meet“:
As you may know, I belong to a network called High Calling Blogs. It is an online community of more than a thousand people, focused (some more than others) on the idea that God cares about everything we do. Our families matter, of course. Faith and how it’s live out matter, too. But so do work and art and music and cooking and how we let employees go. Faithfulness in all areas of life is a bedrock belief of my own workplace – the Coalition for Christian Outreach – and High Calling Blogs shouts the same from one modem to the next.
He included a profile of each High Calling team member. “They are good folks,” he says, “inspirational followers of Christ, and now friends.”
Contributing Editor Ann Voskamp wrote “How to See God: The Light of Brokenness,” reflecting on a question Gordon Atkinson posed over lunch at Laity Lodge: “This is what I want to know,” he asked. “How do you see God?”
Ann writes in her post:
He’s waving his fork in my direction.
How do I witness the face of Holiness? How does the invisible become visible to the naked eye — to my naked and ashamed soul? How does the immaterial reality crack the fantasy of our daily material illusions? How do we find the door of the wardrobe, the way higher up, deeper in? Is that what’s he’s asking me?I have no idea. None that I can clearly articulate. How does one say how they daily see the Spirit? This is a way of the heart. I grope for words. Drag my fork tines through beans.
Though not part of our High Calling team, workshop leader Jeffrey Overstreet blogged about the retreat, as well, describing it as an event “where conversations about faith and imagination were humming for three inspiring days.” He wrote:
These people like color and surprise and texture. They’re creative. They can be spontaneous. They can be absurd, for the fun of it. They can be self-effacing in everything from their wardrobe to their creative writing. They’re smart enough to take every detail seriously, but wise enough to know that they should have a sense of humor about everything too… especially themselves. And when we lose that sense of play, we die a little.
Let us play, then.
All photos except that of Bradley Moore taken by Ann Kroeker.