What an amazing trip! I'm home from Chicago, a bit foggy and overtired, but in that happy, post-adventure sort of way that is always worth it.
I was at a conference of women from Vineyard churches all over the country. My friend Grace was one of the keynote speakers, and the theme of the conference was this idea from the Bible that we all have a race to run in our lives--something we're specifically designed to go for, to work towards, and to accomplish. Admittedly, there are all sorts of distractions and discouraging events that tempt us to stop, or turn around, or give up completely, essentially derailing our entire lives. Each of the speakers offered their thoughts on what it looks like to get past these distractions and keep running. None of them wasted our time with pithy slogans or empty pep talks (you know, the stuff that sounds so great when you first hear it, but then leaves you just as lost as before when you get home and think about it for more than 5 minutes?) Instead, these women shared real stories about walls they've run into (walls we're likely to face ourselves) and how they found their way around/over/through them and kept going. It was great.
Perhaps my favorite story came from a woman in her late 60s, describing in total candor some of the steps she and her husband have taken in the past few years to keep their marriage vibrant, fun, meaningful, and sexy. I mean, talk about inspiration!?! Who wouldn't want a marriage like that, one where the "happily ever after" part is still right at the center, through all the stages of life? Sign me up!
On a personal note, I also learned that microwaving a chicken pot pie for dinner in your hotel room is a bad, bad plan...