Wow, what a weekend!
Some have asked me how I got the idea to organise a EuroMTC reunion. Early on in March 2014 I was chatting with Evi via Facebook and the idea of getting together cropped up. To be honest, it sort of ballooned from there onwards. Others joined the FB messaging & pretty soon we were up to a workable number of people to be able to make the reunion work.
The next jobs were to try and remember who was in our 3 intakes at college then begin tracking them down. It was a slow, yet exciting process. Some email addresses were no longer valid; a number of people didn’t have FB accounts (horror!); I even had to resort to writing letters to a few families! Slowly, the details began to take shape and it was fun to get replies from friends who I hadn’t been in contact with for over 20 years. There were many joys as news crept in from various countries and a few sad stories of illness, depression, separation and unresolved hurts.
As the names and details came in, God gave me a strong impression. I hesitate to say picture or image….I don’t count myself much of a prophet! It was confusing…as I shared with a few of you over the weekend. I had the impression of laughter turning to tears. Seemed a bit non-Biblical to me because God speaks a lot about tears turning to joy, mourning turning to dancing, etc. Anyway, it stuck with me for a year. More of that in a while.
As last weekend approached, month by month, plans came together.
Evi kindly said she’d bring a couple of caterers to help out. Arianne and Micha were brilliant. They fed us up and incredibly, spent well under budget; so much so that I was able to give them both a healthy gift (€100 each) and hand some (€340) to Ingeborg for Cornerstone’s building fund. This wasn’t planned for in the costs and it will be a blessing to both parties.
Ingeborg was fantastic! She helped by getting accommodation sorted out for us & persuaded students to give up their rooms for us.
Others worked behind the scenes getting email addresses for me and contacting former students, staff and helpers that I’d either forgotten about or couldn’t get hold of.
I was a bit disappointed in the days leading up to last weekend as suddenly, ones and twos dropped out for various reasons. Was it going to flop? No way! The weekend was way beyond my expectations in every sense. The weather was good for Holland in April. Transport from around the World went without too many hitches….in spite of Sandy trying to text the college landline for a lift from Boxmeer station! We all arrived Friday evening and there was much LAUGHTER.
“Boy, you’ve put bit of weight on! Hey, wasn’t your hair black last time I saw you? There aren’t any herrings or rabbit this weekend, are there? I know your face, but your name escapes me for a moment.”
As the weekend progressed (with a minimalist programme, I’ll admit!) the conversations deepened. I saw people praying with each other over breakfast. Some commented that the atmosphere of trust, serenity, love and acceptance was wonderful. I think a highlight of the weekend was Saturday evening when we all had the opportunity to share 22 years of history in just a few minutes…although for some, a few minutes stretched a little! Slowly, the laughter turned to TEARS. Brian summed it up very well in a prayer on Sunday morning, as he said we were sharing tears of pain and passion. So that’s what the impression I had a year ago was all about! The Sunday morning sharing of communion was Spirit-led and the joy and tears mixed quite naturally.
Sunday lunch came and went and with sadness, we started to say goodbye to each other…the nest emptied! Sunday evening was quiet as about 20 of us stayed over until Monday breakfast. Yet, the trust, peace, tears and yes…laughter…remained. I didn’t want to leave on Monday morning and returning to a somewhat messy house, grumpy emails on my computer and the busy-ness of life wasn’t pleasant.
So what next? Another 22-year wait when we’ll be even older and a lot greyer? Hopefully not. God will nudge us in his timing to get together, I’m sure. We’ll probably need to have ground floor rooms….the stairs might prove too much of a challenge!
Laughter & tears. Two very familiar elements of life. We all experience them and they fit together in ways we don’t imagine. Thank you, Lord for a great weekend!