Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Reflections from Edel '14

 I just spent a most incredible weekend attending the Edel Gathering. For the past two days, I’ve spent way more time than I should on facebook reading the recaps. As the days before Edel shortened, I noticed the feed on our private fb page started filling up with anticipatory notes of excitement. The news feed has now exploded in post-Edel  comments of gratitude and reliving moments that will keep us laughing for months (years) to come as we try to keep the feeling alive. There are links to blog posts recapping the event from our own personal experience. I’m devouring them all and finding a common thread… Edel far exceeded everyone’s expectations!

I actually posted a selfie of myself. Edel made me feel like a teenager!
My story is a little different. I am in the scant majority of Catholic moms in attendance who would be considered an “experienced mom”.  My 30 year old high- top pink converse sneakers that I wore to crazy shoe night were older than some of the ladies attending!  A few months after my dear friend, Julie made sure I bought a ticket for this, I started feeling apprehension. I was reading about all the moms who were bringing their infants. It’s been 10 yrs. since I had a baby, perhaps I didn’t belong here. I have a bad habit of over-thinking social situations, especially big ones, and placing myself all alone in a corner living that, “have you ever been in a crowd and felt all alone?” situation.  A day before the big event, I went into complete panic mode of not wanting to go, I didn’t belong, it was a mistake. I texted Julie, who is, by the way, used to my spazzy freak-outs before anything major happens in my life. She was supportive, but I needed more. So I took a deep breath and posted my insecurities on the fb page. I was relieved to find comments on that thread that were so encouraging and also, that others felt as I did.  My spirit calmed and I knew it was ok. I was going to Edel the next day after all!

How do I describe Edel to others? A conglomeration of Catholic moms of all ages and stages of life who get together in a supportive social setting to reaffirm our vocation and see that while living that vocation is often against what society speaks, that together, whether we are physical neighbors or cyber –sisters, we are united as beloved daughters of Christ, under the mantle of the Blessed Mother, bonded to the one True Catholic Church. We are building in our own homes, in our husbands, in our children, a Cathedral of Love.  “We discover God in each other in relationship. Christianity is communal”. This is accomplished not by losing ourselves in motherhood, but by letting God find us there amidst the dirty diapers, piles of laundry, cranky toddlers, sinks full of dirty dishes, adolescent hormone surges, teen rebellion, and financial strain.  “We each have our own personal vocation and if we are always watching others we will miss God’s plan for us. We are only called to love in all situations, that will lead to self-lessness”.  We are a community of like-minded women who are spreading a glimmer of hope to all who see us faithfully wading through the muck in life and knowing at the end we won’t be beat up, weary skeletons of who we used to be, we will have a soul which emanates the light of Love of our creator and spreads to those we’ve touched.  “Our witness to others must be rooted in Truth and a witness of Hope”. We know that we are sanctified in this work and we are cathedral builders in the place where God dwells in us all. “Christianity isn’t a set of rules; it’s a relationship in love.”

Edel co-founder, Jennifer Fulwiler
So, this group of moms who listened to inspiring speakers and chatted freely with new friends can also party!!!  It was clear to me that while we take our vocation very seriously, we aren’t what upper society might deem ‘proper ladies who carry themselves with utmost decorum” Ummm….. there was some such rapping, karaoke, closing down the bar, drinking margaritas on 6th street, and dancing for hours.  It is obvious that Catholic women know how to have fun and need to let loose on occasion before getting back to the business of building…….

I am so blessed to have had this experience and hope to follow the blogs of all who attended and keep in touch with new friends so we can all live in that little community where we build each other up and crack the mold of how society says women will climb over each other to make themselves look better. I only wish this type of support was around 15-20 years ago when my domestic church was in the neophyte stage and I would have benefitted from receiving affirmatin from the most awesome and inspiring women I’ve ever known!

“Every fail to love is a sin.”*

I was one of the nerds taking ‘notes’ during the talks because I can’t remember anything. There are many inspiring take-aways from those gifted speakers. I’ve tried to weave some of their thoughts into this post and also know they are being written about on other blogs.    

*All bold quotes are from the talk given by Marion Fernandez-Cueto

1 comment:

Natural Mama Nell said...

Loved seeing you, Suzi! Really really glad you made it out. I wish we had had a chance to talk more. Next year!