Where, When, and (Exactly) What?

“Oh, yes,” several people said yesterday, “there’s definitely a need for that!”  And they asked good, clarifying questions … the kinds of questions I’d been asking myself.  And the setting was a real-world example of joyful community in an unlikely-looking place.

If you’d asked me on Thursday or Friday, that’s not how I would have expected to spend my Sunday.  But as my Wise Friends have said, “When the time is right, you just know.”  And on Saturday afternoon, I had a sudden insight about where I needed to be on Sunday morning and what, specifically, I should ask folks there if I had a chance.  I even had an emergency backup plan in case it was a disaster … but I had a strong feeling that it wouldn’t be a disaster at all.

I’m glad I was right!  And I’m glad I trusted those feelings.

As I pulled the car into the mostly-grass parking area, I thought, “Yes, this place, and these people.”  In the moment, I couldn’t articulate why … but I’ve learned to trust that sense over the years.  (For some reason, I haven’t always trusted the equivalent feeling, the one that says “No, not this place, not these people, not right now,” but I think I’m getting better about that, too.)  Within a few minutes, though, I could articulate why: this is clearly a joyful community, even though it had its origins in some sad, traumatic, and still unresolved disputes.  “I’m really impressed,” I said at coffee hour, “with the spirit of joy.”  And several people talked about joy and relief and a sense of coming home.

That’s an important part of what I’ve sought to provide, over the years, in the joyful learning communities that formed, against all odds, when “my” classrooms became “our” classrooms.  When I think of my most formative experiences, they all involved either joy, relief, and coming home or (in the case of some negative, but still very formative experiences) the exact opposite of that.  “Here are some people,” you realize, “or here is this one person, and we speak the same language and look at things in a similar way, or in a complementary way.”  I wasn’t surprised to learn that they’d outgrown their first meeting space, or that they’re already starting to think about a time when they’ll outgrow the current one.  “Are you a first-timer too?” somebody asked, and neither of us was surprised.  “I know I recognize you from somewhere!” I thought, just as somebody else started saying that to me … and no, I still haven’t figured out how we know each other or where we met.

The need is great … and folks “on the ground” see the need, see its magnitude, and agree with the really quick overview of what a joyful learning community in Those Parts would look and feel like.  That was worth a rainy, but peaceful drive.  I’m still wrestling with exactly where, exactly when, and exactly what it will all look like at the beginning, but the overall picture gets clearer every day.

I wonder what other insights and discoveries await as the picture gets clearer in days and weeks to come!

Published in: on August 11, 2014 at 7:45 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] I was working on yesterday’s post, I wondered about the wisdom of calling it “Where, When, and (Exactly) What?”  Exactly […]

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