Friday, September 14, 2007

On My Way Out, Again...

I've been recruited to drive the Nashville Friends Meeting youth group to the SAYF retreat in Knoxville this weekend. I'll be leaving in an hour or so to meet people at the Meetinghouse and leaving from there. Hammy and I haven't had much time together lately and our relationship is feeling the strain of it but he's playing music Saturday, leaving the house in late morning and probably not returning until early morning (1-2:00 am) the next day, so we wouldn't really be seeing much of each other over the weekend, anyway. Knowing how distant we're feeling from one another, we've talked about the need to create time to be alone together next week. I'm hoping that the youth and I will arrive home early enough for Hammy and I to go out together for an hour or so Sunday evening. We'll have to play it by ear, I reckon.

This is only my second time being a Friendly Adult Presence at a SAYF retreat. The last time was Declan's first retreat probably almost 3 years ago when I drove to Asheville with Finn, who was still a nursling, and the teens. That time I hung out at the retreat but Finn, who was a toddler, required the majority of my attention. I didn't really get to visit with the adults or get to know the youth. Hammy and I helped drive to last year's Atlanta retreat but we didn't hang out at all. I am feeling some little amount of trepidation because I get the impression that the FAPs all know each other well and all have the routine down. I have no idea what my role or responsibilities will be or what will be expected of me and I don't have any established relationships with anyone except my son, who avoids me at all costs. I dislike feeling an outsider trying to fit in, although I think it's good to feel that sometimes just to remind me to always be welcoming of others who are newcomers.

I've made myself a mix CD of all my favorite "Soul" music; 4 CDs actually, with Van Morrison comprising about a third of all the songs. Here's the lyrics to one of my favorite Billy Bragg songs:

"Some Days I See the Point" by Billy Bragg

Never saw a meaningful tv advert,
I don’t think shopping is a metaphor for life
Don’t waste my time at the gym in the morning,
try to keep trim by living my life

Wanna feel the wind blowing in my hair,
Wanna hear the waves crashing on the beach
I’m not seeking easy answers or inner peace
I’m just looking for some release

I want to help to make the world better
but I can’t do it all on my own
Try to keep the lid on my disappointment
‘cos cynicism’s such a cop out I know

Watch the shadows of clouds moving on the hill
Open my eyes and drink my fill
On those days that I feel dejected
I come up here for a bit of perspective

Gonna follow the path that climbs up through the trees
Walk along the cliff top and gaze out to sea
I feel free when I come up here
And if it's clear some days I see the point


Mark Wutka said...

Hi Mary Linda,
Ceal and I both enjoyed meeting you at the Knoxville retreat. I wish I had read this post beforehand - I hope you didn't feel too out of place during the retreat. There is a core of FAPs that tend to go to most retreats, and I think it is pretty much the members of the steering committee. We all have different ways of working and of interacting with the young friends, so it is a matter of finding what works best for you (although there are things related to medical & emergency procedures that we need to make sure everyone follows). We are always happy to have new FAPs - we had 3 at the Knoxville retreat, I believe. I hope we'll see you at more retreats in the future! I didn't get much chance to talk to you since we got in so late on friday night, so maybe next time.
With love,

Nancy A said...

Hello Mary Linda

Just letting you know I drop by from time to time to read. I haven't commented yet, just taking it in.

Sometimes a blogger needs to know that someone is reading...

Friendly Mama said...

Thanks for your support! I had a wonderful time. People were great (natch) and I feel I made some potential friends. I enjoyed getting to know Ceal a bit. Maybe my son won't mind me FAPping again sometime and our paths will cross for more than a few minutes!

Thanks for saying "hello"! You're right; I enjoy blogging but one can feel completely isolated, at times. It is good to know that people are "out there" reading.
Mary Linda