I’ve just picked up the handouts for tomorrow’s Door of Hope writers retreat. Neatly typed up, professionally copied, they look inevitable. They aren’t.
So much could have happened to prevent the creation of these handouts. The writers might never have arrived at the point where they could sit down and write. Even when they did, they could’ve chosen not to re-live the moments of their lives, or written about them, or shared what they’d written. For all of that to translate into a handout, the writers had to agree to lead a workshop, jointly select a theme with their co-leaders, find work that fit the theme, prepare their presentation.
It all looks so inevitable, but it’s not.
For once all these decisions were made, Life had to cooperate. Life didn’t let Michael Rawlings return to lead another workshop this year. Not his decision to get stabbed to death in the street, but he doesn’t have a handout this year.
Life didn’t let Robb Pate, one of our very first workshop leaders, return to sing for us, “Lights of Home.” Not his decision to die in the heat wave two summers ago, but he has no handout this year.
When we gather tomorrow, I will look around the room – leaders, participants, staff – and there will be so many faces I miss.
Can we take a moment and give thanks for the handouts?