Spiritual Directors International hosts an annual conference in April, and this weekend it took place in St. Paul, Minnesota--more than likely the closest it's going to come to me for a while. . .and Jack went with me, so we could spend a little time together, as well as with his sister, Mary, and her husband, Skip. Mary and Skip just moved out of their home of thirty-plus years, and chose to meet up at Psycho Suzi's for dinner on Saturday night. The place is so popular, they ended up parking four blocks away!
Three nice surprises happened right away after we arrived at our hotel. One of my Pecos friends, Ray, was coming from the east coast, and I hoped to see him. I ran into him immediately, while Jack was parking the car--within minutes of checking in.
Also, I was sure that Joyce Rupp would be so involved and inaccessible that I wouldn't even get to say hi. . .but I caught her alone and had plenty of time for a brief conversation and a hug--TWICE!
And, I didn't realize she would be there, but Melanie Weidner brought her gorgeous ART along to the conference. You can view it here:
There were maybe a couple of disappointments. I didn't get to meet Lucy LaGrange, who did some of the artwork for the conference website. She's a friend of my sister-in-law, Mary, and was too ill to attend. And there were a couple of other friends I thought "might" possibly come, who didn't. (Pat Cleary-Burns.)
A terrific circle of Des Moines area women was there, too. It was so great to be able to connect faces and personalities to some of the names I've heard in the three years we've been in Des Moines. It made the sense of community seem stronger, which has been one of the "take-aways" of the conference: To feel a strong sense of community with so many people you don't know personally--knowing that you are all part of the same thing. Wonderful.
Apart from all the things you learn at conferences, and the ways your life and understanding are impacted, there's also this: amazing, surprising connections with the people you meet. Which, I have a feeling, is the real reason we get together. More on that in the next post, I promise.