By this point I imagine most of y’all are sick of hearing about how amazing Wild Goose 2013 was but I am going to to add my voice to the chorus of praise being heard around the blogosphere. I waited a week to put down in words my reflection because I needed to understand if what I had experienced was the temporary euphoria of festival shenanigans or something bigger, something deeper. A week later I still feel as if something real, something important shifted for me in my experience of Wild Goose.
See I found someone that I had not seen in a long time. Me. I found a whole me that has been wounded and hiding more than I realized. I found a little girl who was once free and full of light and hope that has allowed the world to form her in reactionary fear. Out there in the mud and heat, at beer and hymns, at a little tent making prayer beds with other middle-age women, at the Indigo Girls concert and late night dance parties and early morning Eucharist and I stumbled upon an old, inner spring of faith and freedom that is bubbling and running free in my soul once again. Is this all because I hung out at a Woodstockian Christian hippy fest? No, not entirely. Did the Goose help me unlock something that has been hidden for far to long? Yes, without a doubt!
I could write an epic post that drones on and on with every tiny detail of the event but let’s be honest, no one really wants all that mess. Here are some highlights and glimmers of truth:
Contrary to my stress-attack drive to get there on Thursday (ask the women who were my passengers) I DID get exactly the campsite I needed. Had I gotten there a hour earlier or later I might not have met the people who would BE my wild Goose.
Contrary to my pessimism about the location and timing of our Sex Slam the event was packed with folks standing along the back wall and a handful of people who could not even get in. Not only was it packed with bodies it was overflowing with an incredible spirit of love and pain and hope and brokenness and grace and grace and grace. I am grateful, humbled and excited about what transpired in that room when each of us, Alise, Frank, Rebekah, Asher, Dave and I shared in an unexpectedly powerful format. My 6 minutes were devoted to the difference between being welcoming and affirming and what it was like raising two beautiful children to know fear and lies as part of their Christian formation.
Contrary to my plans to attend every single event I could pack in the weekend, I spent many an hour floating freely around the grounds taking in the sights, sounds and smiles of the whole shebang. I even had a moment of straight up trashy sabbath when I sat alone under the awning of the Holy Roller Pop-Up slowly enjoying a tin of smoked oysters, Tostitos Scoops and a chilly PBR while watching the leaves dance in the lightly falling rain. How odd the moments that sneak up on us and are holy. Thin Places.
Contrary to what many may think (and some have claimed) the events that I did attend were WAY more than the same old theological, progressive emergent back-patting blah-blah. Here I ran smack-dab into a yearning for and a call to action that invites us to truly live into the gospel of love and justice we claim as our story. This was not just some big muddy party folks, this was a convergence of energy that felt like movement building. All weekend I kept thinking of the old camp meetings of the Second Great Awakening.
Contrary to my notions of who I would hang out with I found myself drawn to spend most of my fellowship energy with my neighbors, Tim and Jan, soaking in their incredible hospitality and making new, dear friends. When asked who was the most interesting person I’d met at Wild Goose I tell everyone that it was my neighbors. Conversations over grits and coffee, and over chips and salsa, and over good wine and fine beer were beautiful and holy. Thank you.
Transcending my expectations of how it would feel to see the Indigo Girls for the bazillioneth time, I was utterly shaken to the core by being in a crowd of Christians, some singing along, some a little perplexed, to the tunes that have been a soundtrack for my journey all these years. It was church my friends and something deep and powerful shifted in me in that muddy field with all those folks. So powerful in fact, that I have not yet found the words to convey what happened out there.
More than I could have anticipated, Sunday morning Eucharist with my new-found friends gently unwound a tightly guarded heart to shed little more light upon wounds I had carefully hidden for far too long.
There are so many little details that I want to share, but truly, the only way to share the experience is to hope we will share it in person next year, immersed in the Light, surrounded by the Spirit and sent forth in determined Hope.