Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lost and Learning

On Saturday, October 9, I arrived in St. Lucia to officiate a wedding for some great NCCers. On Tuesday, October 12, I arrived at the St. Lucia airport to leave Paradise and return to real life in Washington, DC. Granted, it was real life that I am very excited about-- a recon field trip for leadership retreat, some planning meetings with Team D for the upcoming leadership summit, a webinar with small group pastors around the country to encourage them to stay strong when community gets messy, preparation for a small group leader conference-- the stuff I love to do. It is now two days later, and I'm still stuck at the St. Lucia airport.

It's kinda like being one of the survivors of Oceanic 815. On a beautiful island, sometimes loving it, starting to hate it, becoming good friends with your fellow passengers, realizing there is a very real chance that paradise just might be purgatory in disguise, and most significantly, learning more about yourself than you really wanted to know.

Now, before I get all of the sarcastic comments about how terrible it must be to be stuck 3 extra days in St. Lucia, please allow me just a moment of bellyaching to paint the most accurate picture. We are not on a beach. Or at a pool. Or on a golf course. We have been lied to by the airline. Been rebooked, entered security, gone through customs, watched our bags be packed and unpacked by security, and sat for hours upon hours more times than we can count. We sat on an airplane for four hours yesterday and have been out of the bed before 4am for the past two days. St. Lucia Airport does not equal the experience of the rest of the island. I won't mention the problems with credit card freezes, the inability to make international calls, or the day I was asked if I was the groom's mother.

I'm lost on the island, but I'm learning:
  • Nothing reveals the quantity and quality...or lack thereof...of the Fruit of the Spirit in my life more than airline travails.
  • Perspective is everything. If we have to be stuck for three days, the opportunity to get in a swim on an island beach (on the day we actually got to the hotel on time) makes the rest of the day much better.
  • This is an opportunity to ask how God might want to use me to encourage another, to surprise someone with undeserved kindness, to show his love in some practical way.
  • The things that sometimes seem so "urgent" in my world still rest securely in the sovereignty of God-- and he never seems to be in freak out mode.
  • My team at NCC-- Team D-- Will, Maegan, and Josh-- are rock stars. And when I'm out of their hair, they get great work done.
and maybe just one more...
  • Next time I want to experience the Caribbean, I'm going to DisneyWorld, It's the happiest place on earth. And their version still has pirates.


At 11:42 AM, Blogger Theresa Haskins said...

OH MY GOSH HEATHER! You made me laugh loudly! I'm sorry - but you are funny EVEN IN the middle of a major ordeal! I hope you get several free airline ticket/trips out of this! Try to enjoy the beauty of nature! I'll be praying for you! (oh, and you could be grateful you weren't in a mine for 70+ days. I'm just sayin...)

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Theresa Haskins said...

PS. I LOVED the mother of the bride comment - but there is no way!!

At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Mark Cowsert said...

Hey Heather...what Small Group Leaders Conference are you a part of? With Willow not doing one, I am looking for other were amazing at last year's WCA Group Life Conf...and I recommend your teaching from last year to my small group pastor friends...just looking for more opportunities to help my leaders...THANKS!

Mark Cowsert
Community Pastor
the River
Forsyth, MO

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Heather Z said...

Hey Mark- I will be speaking at the Right Now Conference in a couple weeks. I was also recently at Group Life South in Alabama. I know that Saddleback is doing some regional Purpose Driven Group Life Conferences, as well. But there's not much in the way of a national group life movement right now.

At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Mark Cowsert said...

Thanks Heather! Yeah I noticed that as I got back on some of the various sites...I noticed that Dave said that if the Group Life South event went well that they may do more of those regionally...I really believe that this time in the Group Life movement will bring opportunities for innovation BUT it seems that since WCA has gone through its change, it has left a void in having the huge cheerleader (and underwriter!) of Group Life leadership training (other information seems to be "cookie cutter" in its approach...but I am sure that it may just be my limited exposure to some of the other resources out there)...I have looked at other stuff but last year's Group Life Conf. was probably the best combination of theory and practice in my years of serving in group life leadership...Thanks again for your role and thanks for your blog and other resources...appreciate your "realness"!



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