Tuesday, August 31, 2010

From a distance

Thinking back on our time at the festival...it seems so close and yet so far away. You get home, many of us from several different countries, and life seems to shift into a totally different gear.
Many new friendships began in Hungary, but what will they look like from a distance. I had to think of a song sung by Bette Midler...From a distance -

From a distance we are instruments
marching in a common band.
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace.
They're the songs of every man.
God is watching us. God is watching us.
God is watching us from a distance.

One thing I will try to remember is that we all had our own part to play in the relationships at the festival, and at the same time we all have our own parts to play where we live. Hopefully the time and the friendships built during the festival will be like hearing the melodies and the harmonies of a common song. If we can listen and hear them, they will inspire us to create intricate harmonies adding color and warmth to the lives around us.

Can you hear what I hear?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A new day

My head found my pillow very late last night, well actually it was getting early on into the new day. It was dark and the stars were still quite bright when I closed my eyes, but the light from the sun came much too soon it seemed. My dreams filled with a jumble of thoughts and feelings, impressions and whatever…. but it was a new day. I woke with a song in my head…. It’s a happy day and I thank God for the weather, it’s a happy day livin’ it for my Lord. It’s a happy day and things are gonna get better, livin’ my life on the promises of His Word.
I have no idea how it happens or why, but I almost always wake up with a song. Maybe it has to do with my musical nature, but it is a part of who I am and how I express myself. It is also the way I connect to my Creator God. Through music He touches my life and communicates His love to me. That’s why I sing. It is my way of expressing my love for Him, for life, for others. Hope I can sing a song for you someday.

Trail Seeker

Open mike night

Singers and dancers from different countries, all kinds of styles….celebrating talent and enjoying diversity! A cozy atmosphere, a cup of coffee or tea, good company and conversations …. a great way to bring us all together.
At the close of the fourth day of the festival it is noticeable that everyone is becoming more and more comfortable with each other. Walls are less visible and bridges of friendship are beginning to take form. Language barriers may still exist, but communication is not a problem.
Imagine….. what it might be like if we could actually find unity in diversity.

Trail Seeker

Life, loss, survival, memory and hope

For each of the words in the title a candle was lit tonight during the memorial service for the two Hungarian young people who tragically lost their lives a few weeks ago in an accident in the USA. It was a sober and intense experience. A few of the survivors of the accident were also present. Together we expressed our communal experience by sharing in their loss and sorrow. As a community we committed to carrying the memory of the two young people with us on our journey. It was good to pause and remember and reflect, for a time we stood still – because life can be so uncertain and incomprehensible, and that’s one of the reasons so we need to value the moments and the relationships dear to us.

Trail Seeker

Musical ice cream sundae

We all probably know the game of musical chairs… while the music plays you walk around in a circle, when the music stops you run for a chair. Tonight I saw a great variation on that theme….with ice cream. Not just a bowl, but three tables long filled with ice cream in all flavors and whipped cream! The music started as about forty people walked around the tables. When the music stopped they all charged the tables and began to eat as much ice cream as they could before the music started again. This of course was not done in a civilized manner….naturally, ice cream went flying in all directions. It was a hilarious scene. Can’t wait to see the film! And if that wasn’t enough fun and games for one night…a giant pillow fight erupted. I don’t know where all the energy comes from…. they hiked more than two hours in the afternoon. I guess it was the perfect way to end an eventful day.

Trail Seeker

Wade in the water

Our theme for the week is Follow the Karavaan, remembering the wagon trails on journeys across North America. It’s a group of people going from one place to another together. Sometimes the journey has a specific purpose, other times it is a journey of discovery. The band sang a song this morning… Wade in the water. Sometimes it is good to just go with the flow, especially if others have gone before and have given hints and tips for the journey. Today the small groups are on a Discovery of Köszeg, which almost did not happen because it started to rain really hard. We didn’t know whether to go forward with the plan or make a change, some wanted to cancel while others said… we’re not made of sugar are we! So we waited a bit, played a few games and the rain stopped.

I hope it stays dry most of the trip. Even if it doesn’t, we can go through this discomfort together. If we step out and ‘ wade in the water ’ - step out in faith, supporting each other, we can carry each other and maybe experience the miracle of overcoming our hardships together…. sharing our similarities and celebrating and appreciating our differences.

Trail Seeker


On the remembrance table there are scented candles lit next to the two pictures of Szab and Dora. I came in the downstairs entrance to the youth building Monday night and immediately I could smell the scent from the candles… the table in The Listening House is on the top floor, three flights up! Immediately I was reminded of these two young people whose lives were cut short by this tragedy. When I got upstairs I wrote:

Sometimes words are not enough
A candle is lit in remembrance of your lives, a scented candle
A candle may also be not enough,
But the fragrance from the candle can be noticed everywhere.
May the fragrance of your lives be noticed,
Be remembered and thus,
Be celebrated.

Trail Seeker

To everything there is a season and a time…

In The Listening House I have also set up a table of remembrance. One of our Bridgebuilders groups from Hungary had a tragic accident when in the USA this summer. Two young people in the group lost their lives. A few of the group who had also been in that accident are now at the festival. I felt it was important to make a special place to honor these two young lives and to create an opportunity for anyone who wants to leave their thoughts and words to celebrate their lives that ended much too soon.
On Wednesday evening we will hold a memorial service in the local church, led by the local pastor. We hope this will give the festival participants a chance to collectively show their love and share their support and comfort for those who had known the two. The notebooks, available to sign or leave a message in, will be given to the families after the festival is over.

Trail Seeker

The morning of the first day…

The day before the festival many of the staff were all very busy getting everything ready. Unpacking cars and setting up all the different rooms. We are in Köszeg, Hungary at a really large complex which is used for education.

The room set apart for meditation/prayer I have named “The Listening House”. It is going to be a great place to spend some time in. There are possibilities to just sit in silence, light a candle, pick up an “Angel Assignment” or do the Discovering Your Core Values Exercise. You can listen to a cd or read a short meditation or pick up a book and read for a while. You can fill in a card for the prayer team if you want them to pray for you or something or someone you are concerned about.
And this is the ‘quiet’ part of the festival! There are a lot more things to do and people to get to know, maybe meet some old friends you haven’t spoken to in a long time and catch up on where they are now in their lives. Too much to mention!

Trail Seeker