So. Back from Greenbelt. wearing my new t-shirt. Here are the highlights:
- Camping with a fabulous bunch of folks. Props to Jude for organising the enclave. great set up. Great location.
- Eating dinner with a fabulous bunch of folks. Props to Pádraig for chef duties. Menus will be published here in due course. Pád has revolutionised our GB eating habits.
- Quality chat with friends and meeting new folks and putting faces to names. (Fellow timebeinger) Steve Lawson encounter was a gem. He finally put my face with my name. Much hugging and animated chatter ensued.
- Ikon’s ::Queer:: service. Ben used a visual taken from Tom Will’s hard drive. It was as breathtaking a backdrop as we’ve ever had. And that was just the walls. Whole thing as an installation and ritual and some kind of worship was even more beautiful than I could have imagined it. Proof that when you have an idea, even if you think it’s “a bit out there” you should be brave and unashamed and say – “Hear me out / Would it work if we. . .?/What do you think about . . .?”. Be brave.
- Being sick and being surrounded by a caring community that gave me just the right doses of tlc and space.
- Emiliana Torrini on stage one. One of the most amazing gb performances i've ever witnessed. Bjork, Stina Nordenstam and The Sundays have a child as a result of a bizarre musical love triangle. Had heard her album a couple of times over the summer but the live experience was the clincher. Completely captivating and convincing. Viewed on the big screen while lying on the grass in the dying evening light. Blissful.
- The big screen. Hallelujah! No need to stand on hard concrete to watch stage one.
- Duke Special. Did the homeland proud.
- Hearing Jonah Fry (not yet two) sing Biffy Clyro and animatedly calling our names. He got them right every time. Although we still haven’t worked out why he insisted on calling Michael “Daddy” for two days.
- Playing library with Daniel and Jude. The rules are you play with the books and you have to whisper. Daniel, as far as I can tell, made it up.
- Didn’t get to a single seminar but plan to download later. Thank the Lord for MP3s. They mean I could get quality time with friends in a slothful manner and not miss out on the inspiration. i can't wait to hear richard rohr.
- Seeing Andy Thornton smile.
- The last night party in the organic beer tent. The Belfast crew showed ‘em how it’s done. We put the bump to the grind. Uh huh.
- The weather.
Not so good:
- Feeling sick and basically losing a day of the festival and lying in tent all day instead.
- Queuing for shower on Sunday morning and having to endure the accompanying cleaning of the portaloos not ten feet away. It’s what hell will smell like.
- Flight delays on way home. I hate air travel and all it entails with a passion normally saved for right wing American foreign policy.
Overall, a great festival.
Lots of changes. And changes mean adjusting. GB is steadily becoming a backdrop to time spent on community holiday. Not sure I’d want it to get a whole lot bigger. There were a lot of people I never even saw in passing. That’s a first in 13 years. Recognisable faces got lost in the sea of the crowd. Didn’t see Pip Wilson once. I was looking forward to his smile.
GB always brings with it some kind of lesson. Not yet sure how to articulate what this year’s was and I wonder if this year’s will not so much be from the festival but from conversations with friends and from reflecting on my sense that I am, more than ever, disconnected from church.
I’ve got the community. GB and Belfast have allowed me the privilege of getting to know some exceptional human beings. They are a living witness and provide me with a strength that I don’t always feel within myself.
But I’m thinking I want more God in my life. I’m sick of trying to make it on my own.
The only way past is through. Which means it can be a tough road we have to travel on. It’s inevitable. So be bubble wrap to one another and remember to allow yourself to be taken care of. (Or is that last bit my lesson?) Thanks to those who have shown me so much protection and care these past few days, even those who are far away. You feel much closer.
I’ll leave you with my favourite story of the festival:
Daniel Fry (recently turned four) accompanies his father, Chris, through the campsite as evening falls. No doubt due to hearing us loudly praising an awesome sunset the previous evening, Daniel comments that the sky is lovely. Chris replies that yes it is and that God made it that way.
Conversation turns to the grass: God made the grass too.
“No”, Daniel says, “God didn’t make the grass.”
“Who is Mr Dixon?”
“Oh, he’s the man who helps God, making things. Like the grass.” He continues on to explain the various things that Mr Dixon does to help God and paints a rather vivid and exciting picture of this mysterious character and his exploits.
Chris is highly entertained but curious:
“Where did you hear about Mr Dixon. Who told you all this?”
Daniel replies rather matter of factly, “Oh, no one. I produced it myself.”
:: ALPHA. YHWH. AMOR. OMEGA ::