Last weekend, I and about 15 other women in my general age group spent the night at the home of an incredibly hospitable friend at her house on Lake Moss in North Texas.
I had never met any of these women until just over a year ago, but for some of them, friendships go back over 30 years. Several years ago, some of them began meeting weekly for a glass of wine and relaxed conversation.
In the summer of 2014, a chance encounter at church with a friend of a friend led to an invitation for me to join them. In the last year, that group has seen from eight to eighteen women gather weekly.
Although I realized later that they informally called themselves WOW (Women of Wine or Women on Wednesday or whatever else you want to make of it), I noted them in my calendar as “The Female Intelligentsia.” I learned quickly that this group of women, all highly accomplished and extraordinarily well-educated, carried major responsibility for many of the educational, religious and charitable organizations in Denton.
Our weekly gatherings function with no agenda, no formal leadership, no mission statement. Sometimes we converse with brow-furrowed gravitas as we discuss areas of significant concern in the community. Other times, so much laughter permeates the group that we can barely walk out.
Personal stories bubble up through political discourse. We celebrate fund-raising successes, birthdays, and the delightful romance for the unattached among us (primarily mine now!).
And most of us spent Friday night and Saturday morning together, our first ever “retreat.” Again, no agenda, no formalities. Carpools were quickly arranged, everyone brought food and drink to share.
One of those attending commented to me on how easily these friendships had formed. My response, “There is no competition here. We are all secure in who we are and have no need to measure ourselves against one another.”
No competition. What a way to see and experience the Kingdom of Heaven!
Surely this is a taste of what it will be like when we see God face to face. Adoration will go where it belongs; authentic humility–which does not belittle accomplishments but puts them in healthy perspective–will characterize the people.
I am not saying that all competition is wrong, because I don’t think that is true. It can spur superb creativity and achievements beyond wonder. But there is a competition that builds and a competition that destroys.
For us, for the WOWsers, we need only compete with ourselves and celebrate with free, unfettered hearts, the lives of each other.
This, indeed, was a taste of the kingdom of heaven. The cruise on the lake wrapped it up with a sense that God kissed us with the sunset.