When I signed up to host an inrl-webcast I decided to invite some local friends as I am such a novice at online groups. I had stumbled across the ( in)courage sight back in the fall and really enjoyed reading those posts. Then, at the encouragement of my daughter, I started dabbling with blogging sort of as a way to encourage, vent and pursue and photograph hobbies. Before long I made a very sweet friend through a comment strand on a random (in)courage post on friendship. I am still enjoying that email relationship with this kind sister in Christ who has shown me love and friendship even while she and her husband suffer with some very serious health issues. I recently joined an (in)courage support group for women over fifty called Injoyful Service, where I have enjoyed many new friends and support for this stage of life. All that said, I still barely have my finger in the technology pie. I have not entered into twittering, hashtagging and whatever other “hot off the press” (what an archaic term) communication modes have just surfaced. So rather than trying to pretend that I could possibly host a successful inrl webcast with tentative cyber friends in my tiny town in the midwest, I invited local friends.
I started off with grandiose thoughts of a full house and so initially decided to send invites rather than make an open church invitation since I have a fairly small living room, and we don’t have internet connection at our church building. I emailed and/or facebook messaged nearly a dozen friends, mostly from church, and then followed up with an InRl announcement printout in the mail, explaining that once we obtained the videos later this year, someone could always invite other groups into their homes, so that everyone could see the videos from these awesome authors and bloggers. Immediately, I had a friend commit and that was encouraging. And my teen daughter was sweet enough to agree to attend and to help me, though the date was her birthday. We made plans to celebrate her big day before and after the webcast.
But as time went on (and I sent the invites out a couple months early), I only got a couple maybes and the rest never responded. I kept thinking that I would probably have five, and I don’t know why I had that thought. But I acted on it and bought five little pots and decorated them with (in)courage beach house printouts and sprayed a protective coating over that. Then I planted bright colored Sweet William Dianthis in them and nurtured them along in the window sill for weeks. I bought five special chocolate bars and froze them. Okay, I admit, by the time the day rolled around, I had four left, so I just broke them up in pieces. I saved five Starbuck coffee jars and bought twine and tiny flowers to make vases. And I bought a bag of old sterling silverware since my husband said he would make rings for us while we watched the videos. I consider mine a reminder of “all good things”.
When it came right down to a week and a half prior I realized that I really wasn’t going to get a few responses (either negative or positive) that I expected.. I figured at this point, I had plenty of room even if any other church ladies wanted to come, so I opened it up on our church facebook group and got one doubtful response. I resolved not to bug people since I had already announced it through email, snail mail, church facebook page, and my own facebook page. Even though I had read plenty of encouraging comments from (in)courage bloggers to not let lack of response bother you, I was pretty bummed, and I wondered where I had dreamed up the number five, and what God was trying to show me with this.
On the night before the webcast, a friend from another town who had planned to be out of town, said her trip was postponed and now she would be coming for part of it. Then the next day (the day of the webcast),another friend stopped in for a while. That makes five! Not all I originally envisioned, to be sure, but it was like a sweet personal message from God to me that he had this all under control all along, and had tried to both warn and comfort me. The video content was both challenging and healing. Though the rain unexpectedly messed with out internet and confined us to the computer, we were able to gather around comfortably. I could so relate to Deidra Riggs words from a inrl printout: “This heart, all tender and broken and split wide open, has been filled with breath and life and hope – hoisted on the shoulders of women who love well with bruised hearts of their own.” One of the women encouraged us to look around the room. Soak in the gift of who was there and be grateful. I am so grateful.
All in all it was an enjoyable day: the friends, my daughter, my husband’s help, the food, the crafts and the video content. The friends who did come were grateful for the webcast and time together, especially one faithful friend who was able to stay the course through the craft time, which provided some much needed kindred spirit moments. It was a wonderful 2013 webcast experience in the end.