Thursday, April 8, 2010

Stories from Virginia - the responsibility of freedom

This morning's post is brought to you from Virginia, somewhere near Smith Mountain Lake. Yesterday I dropped Rebekah off in Black Mountain, NC, then drove up 40, 77, and then 81 into the heart of Virginia.

Wow! What an awesome drive. I had the roof open and the windows down, watching the temperature gauge finally, at long last, inch it's way down into the 60's.

So I checked into a hotel, turned on my computer, and spent the evening catching up on several writing assignments before turning my attention to the presentations I have lined up for the conference.

This evening I'll start by introducing myself, and laying the groundwork and the back-story for my keynote emphasis. I have some great slides of Rebekah, Andrew, Naomi and Craig and the pets. I'll include some photos from church, too, because I can't talk about my family context without talking about First Presbyterian.

"Dad," Andrew said one time when we were talking about my teaching schedule. "Learn how to used Powerpoint; that way you'll be less boring."

Well I hope I've learned how to avoid being boring by now!! I have so many great stories, and I really am truly excited about my foundational message.

My real challenge is going to be not so much "how to fill time" as what to include and what to leave out. They have me teaching six one-hour sessions, and then bringing the message at the communion service Sunday morning. There's so much I want to share, and I may never see these guys again.

That's where this picture (right) is helpful to me. I took it (plus the other two) Thursday afternoon. At first glance it's just a wooden shack. Interesting only inasmuch as it's an old structure in a picturesque setting. But... add some story and everything changes. This happens to be the plantation where Booker T. Washington started his life as a slave. It's the precise spot where he remembers a man reading from a piece of paper and then saying: "This means you're free. You can come and go as you please."

Now we're talking history; now we're talking story; now we're talking redemption. Redemption, not in terms of just "Now you can come and go as you please..." so much as "What is a man - or a woman - going to do with the fact that freedom is now on the table?"

Now this old wooden shack speaks to me about the struggle of all people to accept such a gift, and the responsibilities that go along with it. Now we're talking about living with a sense of owning the great gift, living as if we mean it....

Not sure if I'll be on-line during the conference. If not, I'll catch up on this blog when I get home Tuesday. Grace and Peace, always - DEREK

1 comment:

Heather said...

If you are close to Norfolk, and have a free moment, let us know! Knowing that you and Rebekah are relatively close is making me anxious to drive to see you both!!!