Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Creating the space in which something wonderful can happen

I'll tell you some of my story to illustrate a point today, but this isn't only my story.  This is about making room, about creating opportunity for good things to happen, in your personal life and in your work life.

Anhui Sisters (and a couple of brothers too!)

We just returned last evening from a reunion with eight other families who traveled to Anhui Province, China in 2005 to adopt daughters.   The adoption of our two daughters (one earlier, in 1996, and this one) was the best thing that my husband and I have ever done.  The two week trip with these wonderful other families bonded us for life, and every year they become more and more my brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews.

Some of this would happen naturally as a result of circumstance.  We have some things in common (adoption, travel to China, daughters,) but we wouldn't automatically stay connected.   The opportunity has to be created within which the relationships we started in China can evolve, renew, and enrich themselves.

Back in January, we all received an email from one of our Anhui moms ("Awesome" is her new name) that read:
"Some friends of ours had rented a house at Virginia Beach and I said "Hey, good idea or what?'" For anyone who is interested and able to make it the house has been rented, yes I skipped all the scheduling questions in the hope that anyone who is interested will make a huge effort to join us, (yes rented) for the weekend of APRIL 15-18."
So there it was - a window that each family could choose to open and step through for the opportunity to refresh and renew ourselves as a group.  "Awesome," told us at the end of the weekend that she knew she would win either way taking this risk - either it would be a bomb and she would never be asked to organize it again (win) or it would be a terrific weekend (even bigger win).

We divvied up the responsibilities:
  • Setting up PerfectPotluck.com for evening meals (Diva did that.)
  • Easter egg hunt for the kids (Jen)
  • Goodie bags (Goddess and her husband Russ)
  • Sky lanterns (Cindy)
  • Birthday cake (Jeannie)
  • Dinner entrees (Awesome, Diva, Marvelous, Fabulous, Katherine the Great and more)
  • Last minute runs for food and supplies (Marc, Awesome, Russ, Goddess, Greg, Cindy)
  • DVDs, wii, DS games - everybody did their thing
  • I'm sure I've missed some things, but you get the idea
Once we were at the beach house - NO SCHEDULE.  The players were in place, the time and space were set, and...
  1. The kids played, and played, and played
  2. Seashells were collected
  3. Kites were flown
  4. Bocci and "Apples to Apples" games were taught
  5. Frizbees were thrown
  6. Air mattresses were bounced upon
  7. Sand forts were built, crushed and rebuilt
  8. Talking, talking and more talking
  9. Walks were taken along the shoreline
  10. Countless photographs
  11. A big sister put together and showed a multimedia presentation of the weekend highlights
  12. Kids collapsed with giggles from the Flarp noise putty (I won't describe why they did!)
  13. Sky Lanterns were launched under a full moon and starry sky
I don't think that anybody was ready to go home, although school days and jobs were awaiting most of us.  How refreshing that weekend was!  How wonderful to go with the opportunity set before us, and the space allowed for us to do whatever the spirit moved us to do.

Thank you to Awesome for figuring out that the only thing the Anhui Sisters and their families really needed was the opportunity.  They would take care of the rest on their own.

1 comment:

Mark Sturgell, CBC said...

Julie, wonderful, simply wonderful. I'll share this with my friends who leave for Korea soon to meet their son.