It Builds Character

Yeah, I mean it like Calvin's dad always says. We use the phrase "it builds character" in our house as a semi-joke, whenever one of us has to do something they don’t want to do, whether that’s emptying the dishwasher or going on a family hike.

Today that phrase occurred to me as I started to look at the photos and blog posts about the QUIP conference in Indiana last week. I tried a couple of times, but had to stop. I am so sad that I couldn’t go. It sounded like it was going to be amazing, both the content and the fact that a lot of my Friends were going to be there. But it wasn't an option for me, and I'm envious, and it's probably good for me to deal with that and learn to get over it.

Part of me is afraid that something really important happened there and I WASN’T THERE. Like now they’ll all be friends and I’ll be on the outside, never quite part of the in-crowd. Really, I know that’s a script from my past and it doesn’t necessarily apply to this experience. But it helps me to admit it. I hope it’s useful to other people to hear me admit it.

I know I have written a lot on this blog about cool experiences that I have had. If I’ve made other people feel bad, I’m sorry. If you went to the QUIP conference, don’t stop posting about it because of me. (As if I had the power to make you, but I hope you know what I mean.) I will want to read all about it pretty soon, and it’s important to document what happened. I hope something important happened last week and that the Publishers of Truth will be stronger for it.

It builds character, both ways.


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Anonymous Eileen Flanagan said...

I think admitting our struggles does help other people. I know it helps me to hear other people's. It also helps me to share my own--takes some of the power out of them. I think that recognizing our jealousy in particular can show us what we are longing for. Maybe you already know, but the strength of your feelings made me wonder what it was your heart was longing for most, time to write as much as you used to, affirmation for your writing gifts, feeling part of that particular community... or maybe something else. Yeah, these experiences build character, and also self-knowledge.

4/28/2010 10:37 AM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Hi Eileen, I think it was some of all of those. But life is like that. The theme of a book I just read, The Will of the Empress by Tamora Pierce, is that it's not good for anyone to always get what they want.

4/28/2010 11:55 AM  
Blogger Ashley W said...

I feel the same way about the QUIP conference! Even though I had very good reasons for not being there, when I see the pictures it makes me wish I could have been in two places at once. So I guess I'm building character too.

4/28/2010 5:24 PM  
Blogger Martin Kelley said...

I wasn't there either, except by video hookup for two hours. There are lots of great conferences all the time, really and it's actually an encouraging sign that there are more than any of us can manage to attend.

I'm sure you know this, but the important thing is being centered and outgoing for the long run. Nothing important will ever happen at any one conference (despite the hagiography that sometimes focuses on events later). Real movements involve lots of people at lots of events over a long period of time, and the most important moments are often discussions that happen over washing dishes or chasing after kids.

Funny aside: I sometimes look at pictures from Quaker conferences and give a sigh of relief. This is especially true when the people in the photo have that glazed-over conference look, like they're really wanting to take a nap!

4/28/2010 7:46 PM  
Blogger Chris M. said...

I like the tag you chose for this post!

It helps to have humor about these things.

Anyway, I would have missed you and felt left out if you had gone. I'm sure that's cold comfort.

4/29/2010 12:08 AM  
Anonymous Christine Greenland said...

After several years (nearly 8), I was representing the Tract Association at QUIP... The book launch was great, I saw Friends I've not seen for about 20 years ... some on the editorial board. Others I see in Philly on a regular basis. Good to see Martin on the screen.

This weekend, several choices will be taken into prayer. I wonder which choice is most obedient -- Sorting seems a matter of discerning which are of eternal importance, and which reek of self.

4/29/2010 8:38 AM  

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