Describing last weekend requires a lot of superlatives. Awesome. Epic. Fantastic. Amazing. You know, all those words that teenage girls like to use in squealing tones of voice. But in this case, they'd be well-deserved. It really was all those things.
My family and I arrived in Charleston on Thursday, and the conference kicked off on Friday evening. On Friday morning, I received an email from Jen Fulwiler asking me if I'd be a guest on her radio show that night. Now, I'd sort of hoped I'd be a guest, but I didn't think I actually would be, because those sort of things don't happen to me. I don't win the lottery or even the church raffle. I'm not lucky that way. But today, I was.
I did a little happy dance and replied that I'd love to. I do love to talk, after all. And I wasn't nervous, because I'd be talking about--well, OK--me, not nuclear policy or sanctuary cities. If I don't know about my life, who does?
I was worried that I wouldn't talk to anyone else all weekend--that people would think I was a weird blog fan girl and think "danger, Will Robinson!" But the women were all welcoming, funny, and friendly. As the weekend progressed, I realized that a lot of us often felt the same way--that people wouldn't like us, or would think we're "weird". But Edel is a great example of CS Lewis' definition of friendship: "You too? I thought I was the only one!" There was a lot of that at Edel.
But back to the radio show. Mary Lenaburg (pictured above with the fantastically funny Kelly Mantoan, one of our speakers) was first, and she talked about her sweet Courtney. There was a need for tissues after she was done talking. Fortunately, I didn't have to follow that. ;-) I was on in the six o'clock hour (we were on from 5-7) and to be honest, I have no idea how long I was interviewed, and I have a vague idea of what I said--adrenaline just totally took over.
I do know I said it's OK to get mad at God, because he can take it--this was tweeted a lot, apparently. (It's so weird to have things you said be tweeted. This happens to other people. Not me.) But I had a blast talking to these amazing ladies.
And when I say amazing, I mean they were all, really, amazing. Every one of us is fighting the good fight at home, moving toward holiness one load of dishes at a time. It was so refreshing to be with like-minded women!
In self-care, one of the things that gets talked about is "filling your well". Edel did that for me. Not only did I get to meet women whom I've admired for a long time (Mary, Kelly, Jen, Hallie, and Ginny, for starters), but I got to meet new friends. And we really felt like friends who'd known each other a long time. It was easy to open up to these women.
Hugs and laughs were shared in equal measure. Let's not even talk about the spectacle of lots of Catholic women dancing and doing karaoke after imbibing cocktails.
But the biggest thing I took away was that none of us are alone in what we're doing. And we might be scattered all over the world, but we are united in what matters. And that might include shrimp and grits and karaoke, as well as more serious things.
In the gospels, Peter doesn't want to leave the site of the Transfiguration. He wants to stay up there always with Jesus, Elijah, and Moses. But he can't; Jesus leads them back down the mountain. Things like Edel are the moments of the transfiguration. As much as we might want to stay on the mountain, we have to bring what we've seen there back into our daily lives, and transfigure them, based on what we know now.
And the title of this post? That's from Kelly Mantoan's talk: "Every time you bless yourself, it's like punching Satan in the face."
A lot of us left Charleston ready to do just that.