friend [frend] noun: a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
OK, so this is the picture from the first year I went to Hilton Head for the (in)courage writers’ beach retreat. It was 2011, and I was terrified. Can you tell from the picture? Ann Voskamp took it. With my camera. Holley Gerth, Lisa-Jo Baker, and me. I was petrified. And do you know what else? I forgot to pack my shorts for that trip. I wore those same pants every day. Good grief!
But at least I was there.
The year before this picture was taken had been an entirely different story. I’ve shared it before, but it bears repeating, and you can read about it right here.
Missing that first year at Hilton Head, and then showing up for the next year taught me a lot. About me. About community. About pushing through the awkwardness to get to the other side. I share this because registration for (in)RL 2013 opens today, and I’d hate for you to miss out because of your fear, or your awkwardness, or your insecurities. We all have them. No matter how confident we look, or sound, at some point we are each going to be called to step outside our comfort zone. So why not do it together, on a day when women around the world will be ringing doorbells and showing up at gatherings of complete strangers — with our hearts pounding in our chests?
Last year, at (in)RL, I met Libby. She tells me she was nervous when she showed up at our gathering here in Lincoln. She hid it well. I had no idea. She was sweet and calm and real and warm and it was a joy to get to know her. We’ve stayed in touch. In fact, I’m looking out my window as I type this, because we’ve got a coffee date scheduled for this morning!
Since we met, Libby has started blogging, and she’s joined the team of online community groups as an (in)courage (in)courager. And this year? Well, this year, Libby is hosting the Lincoln, NE (in)RL meet-up for 2013!
Please don’t miss it. Last year, nearly 2000 women around the world (yes! around the world!) met at gatherings in homes, coffee shops, and even online, to learn together about community. This year, we’re talking about the challenge to stay in community. I hope you’ll join us. It wouldn’t be the same without you.
For more information, or to register for (in)RL, follow this link (I hear they’ve got gifts!)
Did you go to (in)RL last year? What fears keep you from experiencing true community?