Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Passing the ...

RantWoman is so NOT feeling mentorly. It's not just that she herself feels inadequate in multiple respects to her many concerns. RantWoman's stomach sinks every time she experiences the flailings of novice transit drivers. Breathe. Breathe. You can do it. RantWoman also has to grit her teeth because too high a percentage of the staff for a medical procedure seem to have arrived only yesterday. It could also be that horrified look her 30-something primary care resident shot her when RantWoman said something about understanding from her body's whole new fluctuations, how 40-something women get pregnant without meaning to. RantWoman meant this comment only as an observation, not as an indicator of her own state; however at 30 perhaps she also would have taken the comment as her provider did.

RantWoman would in fact so prefer the Fairy Godmother option to instill both herself and all around her with RantWoman's preferred level of finesse, expertise, and all-around suaveness. Unfortunately on Pride weekend if RantWoman asks for a Fairy Godmother, she is likely to get one who is 8 feet tall in heels and tripping over a lavender cumberbund, never mind being able to handle what needs handling.

Possibly RantWoman may have to become adequate to what is needed, both in terms of vexing business questions and, even scarier, in terms of being the voice and face of upcoming conferences at her summer Annual Session. RantWoman just fired off yet another mentorly email to two denizens, one older and supposedly more experienced and one younger with more of some expertise than RantWoman has for our joint non-Quaker project.

Next, RantWoman is still breathing deeply after a conference call for the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference planning committee. RantWoman has gotten up, used the restroom, had a snack. RantWoman is still thinking about the mechanics of nodding the way things happen during Meeting for Business at RantWoman's meeting over miles where all the people nodding cannot see each other. There would be the option of video conferencing, but a plain telephone conference call is still a lot for some to put our brains around.

As conference calls go, it was at first more awkward than a couple non-Quaker ones RantWoman has attended recently. The participants all know each other a little bit though not well and we are getting acquainted in the course of needing to Get Things Done, to make a few decisions and prepare some key materials in time for the summer gatherings at two Yearly Meetings. RantWoman herself had to settle in and discard additional distractions. Then when long pauses ended awkwardly with speakers colliding in mid-sentence, RantWoman had to remind herself, just worship.

Just worship worked powerfully. We settled important questions about Bible verses and subthemes. Oh, you want details: read the conference blog. We have to-do lists and questions that need more clarification.

We hit a couple questions that will once again perhaps force us to define some way to relate to two yearly meetings when we want neither to have primacy, when some topics necessary for simplicity on Planet Capitalism suddenly become complex given our non-structure. RantWoman supposes, upon hanging up from the call, that sequential conferences could take turns asking the two local yearly meetings for enough organizational blessing to solve what is needed. This would have the added advantage of making each planning committee aware of the prosaic details of how such seemingly simple functionary business gets accomplished in each Yearly Meeting, a learning that could lead many different directions. RantWoman can predict that this would not be a perfect organizational fit. RantWoman also feels clear that it would be good enough and that she herself would rather solve the issues with comparative simplicity and MOVE ON.

RantWoman suspects, based on a limited sample of Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference planning committee members that the stories of what happens between conferences and how with God's help the conferences come together anyway may be almost more powerful than all that worshipping and hiking and swimming together during the conference.

RantWoman herself previously did one stint as co-clerk of the Planning Committee just as her eyes were going kafluey. RantWoman is now humble about how, except for the two co-clerks talking by phone several times, the planning committee did not meet at ALL for a long stretch after we picked the theme until RantWoman was out of the picture with a bruised face and a bubble in her eye. Then others who RantWoman can easily imagine might have been able to act sooner burst into gear and got the days' worship planned and everyone into worship groups and almost everything planned except for some details that needed last-minute attention. RantWoman spent a good bit of the actual conference either half sleeping or half sobbing with the exasperation of her eye experiences. RantWoman assuredly does not recommend that approach. The funny thing looking back is that of the two issues this year's planning committee was thinking about, RantWoman has no memory of doing anything at all regarding one and thinks the other may have had a two-track parallel aspect rather than its current form.

Part of the miracle of these gatherings is that women suffering different travails are well and truly held. Another person was then in remission from breast cancer. Others were grappling with various more prosaic infirmities. RantWoman is sobered to think of several faces no longer among us. Part of RantWoman's sense of inadequacy comes from a sense that some of these departed ones gifts are so utterly lacking in RantWoman that the whole community enterprise may blow away if these exact gifts are required in the previous measure.

To S whose father just passed away: please know you are in RantWoman's prayers. If you are anything like RantWoman, you may need to talk about this from time to time for months and less frequently forever. Please know you are in RantWoman's prayers whenever needed.

And with that, let us commit these ramblings to the ether and see what comes next.

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