I’ve told you all before how I got my blogging start in the Five Minute Friday writing community, and with them I found my community, my people, my tribe. This past weekend I got to live that out in real life! We gathered together in Mount Juliet, just outside Nashville, TN for the very first Five Minute Friday Retreat! Words will never give justice to what went on in that cabin by the lake, but here’s my stab at it.
There are certain things to be expected when meeting someone in person for the first time. Some hesitation, some nervousness, a bit of shyness maybe, and for hearts to warm to each other slowly. Let me tell you right now, there was none of that this weekend. I was met with arms and hearts flung wide open, and it was the same every time some one else arrived! We weren’t strangers at all, just friends who had never met before.
I could tell you all about the speakers who came, or the video conferences that were held, and don’t forget the goodie bags we brought home. I could tell you about those things, but I won’t. While I am grateful to each of them who took time out of their schedules to be with us, that is not what stood out from the weekend. Instead let me tell you about friendships deepened over late night talks, chocolate and so much laughter. Really, so much laughter!
Bonds formed by being the only two up early enough to see the sunrise over the lake that first morning. A few more joined us on the second morning.
Imagine a real life twitter party, all weekend long! Whenever there was free time, everywhere you looked there were groups of women gathered in conversation, and sometimes a few floating in between conversations. It was our Thursday night twitter parties, only personified, magnified, and for a full weekend! But it came with the same feelings of community, but so much better because arms could follow where hearts led!
One of my very favorite things about the Five Minute Friday community will always be going through and reading everyone’s posts and seeing how one word can spark such very different sentiments from each of us. It was during the five minute free write on Friday night that my own personal moments of brave came. First, I was so excited to get to sit in the same room with everyone and write our posts together. I had wanted to do that since seeing pictures of group free write sessions at another conference. There is something special about being in a room where so much creativity was flowing, and then hearing everyone reading theirs aloud… I was in some sort of writer’s heaven! Standing up first to read what I had written to the group was my brave for the weekend. I have a fear of public speaking, but when Kate asked who wanted to read theirs, I jumped in. By the end I was nearly in tears, and shaking like a leaf, but I did it! Small steps of brave make up the road to where God wants us to be.
I will forever cherish my weekend by the lake with my these ladies. As we spread back out over the US and Canada at the weekend’s end, a part of my heart remained there in that place with each of them. Even sitting here almost two weeks later, I can still feel them tugging at my heart strings as I think of them. We started the weekend as virtual friends and left as real life friends! Forever changed by a weekend by the lake.