The first night that we were here at the Glen, three of us newbies stood to the side, nervously drinking out of our plastic cups of wine. We didn’t know anyone else yet. We barely knew each other.
I was overcome with anxiety about this trip. I would not know anyone, I would be laughed out of town when people read the pages I sent in. I worried that I was being a bad mom by taking so much time for myself. I stood at the party and tasted those fears and spun the wine glass in my hand.
Having spotted Kathleen Norris earlier at dinner, my eyes followed her as she got her own wine and moved through the crowd. And then, to my surprise, she made her way to us. I managed not to squeal with delight as we talked about Hawaii and word pronunciation and I think maybe mosquitoes. I began to taste the wine over the metallic panic that had been building in my throat. I slid out of my self-consciousness and into the conversation.
The whole week has been like this. Graciousness and hospitality and thoughtful conversations. No one has laughed at me (though we discuss my piece today, so I suppose it could still happen. And if it does, you should look for me under my desk in the fetal position). There is a real sense of joining in the brave work that the people of Image have been doing for years, talking about art and faith and mystery.
What is saving my life this week is the grace of an author whose work I greatly admire, one who would see three young women off to the side and take the time to welcome them in. I am pretty sure I want to be Kathleen Norris when I grow up.
What is saving your life this week?