June 26, 2009
Every time I look at the lanyards made by Erin's friends, I fall in love (click for a close up!).
Who wouldn't? They reflect a collective spirit of devotion, creativity, and sheer camaraderie of effort that boggles my mind.
Today we held the fourth lanyard making party of the summer. We are building inventory. I was prepared to give the greatest-distance-traveled award today to Lara and Hans for driving over from The Woodlands to participate (more than an hour, but less than two hours away).
When they first arrived, no one else was here and it was 3+ o'clock. I hadn't extended specific invitations, so I had no clue if anyone else would show up. I wondered if the energy behind the lanyards had petered out, and how I would explain that to someone who had gone out of there way to be there.
Before too long Jackson, my faithful friend, and Douglas arrived, with Shirlene. At least, I thought, we'd get a little done. It didn't have to be like the other weeks where we would have fifteen, twenty, or even more people crowding the house. We'd each have our own space and our own work tray and make beautiful bead creations.
Soon after, I found myself screaming in excitement. The entire Benson girl group from Fort Worth (sorry, Lara, you no longer win the prize for furthest traveled. New award goes to Ellen, Clayton Sue, Charlotte, and Clarke from Fort Worth. . .check the map you non-Texans. . .this is definitely a three plus hour drive for beading) arrived at the back door.
Then Anja and Tommy, Beverly, Colton, and Weston , Patti and Aaron, Mary Ann and Jesse came in ready to get after it.
I can't really explain the lanyard sessions. None of us are artists. Some are craftier than others. But it becomes more than that. This is absolutely grassroots. I have no control over the final product. . .and no matter what I have thought of each lanyard that someone has produced--perfect or shall I say less than perfect in my eyes--someone has fallen in love with it and said "that one's for me!" (There's probably a metaphor here, but I'm too tired to figure it out.) If only Erin made lanyards or if only I made lanyards, the range of creations would be so much smaller. If only I bought beads, the range of styles and colors would be so much narrower.
Instead, each week, I cast my bread upon the water. I invite anyone who want to come, and I let them have at it. I put out a few snacks and get some wire ready. A fewer hours later, as folks gather up to leave, I have more snacks than when I started with, even though everyone has eaten heartily. The lanyard board brims with inventory that replaces the lanyards shipped the previous week, and then some. I have more beads than when we started. My heart is fuller.
Earlier this week, Tracy called and asked if she wanted me to take lanyards up to the Children's Neruoblastoma Cancer Foundation Conference to sell. I don't know if anyone there would want one, but if we could somehow activate the energy, creativity, shared design, silly and serious conversations, excitement, friendship, and love that went into each one, they would be very popular.
See you next Friday for beads and love.