GA: Recovery

What a beautiful day to not have to work.  I am sitting on my deck in the shade of our huge tree drinking a cup of coffee and wondering what I will do with myself today.  I had big plans for the day: a whole lot of nothing. But then it just seems too beautiful to sit inside like a lump in my chair–which is how I started the day.  I have to just laugh: I started by turning on BRAVO and watching the end of The West Wing–a show I continue to lust after, even in old, old reruns, because of the mix of smart with funny and characters I truly cared (care?) about–even Toby.  Especially Toby.

So, I’m sitting there watching my favoritest show ever while playing Tetris on Facebook and West Wing ends and the next show starts.  If I complain about whiplash later this weekend, I think I know the cause.  There was no easy transition between the smartest show ever in the world and what came next. “Stupid” would be a compliment. And yes, it was the proverbial car wreck: I couldn’t look away fast enough. It’s a show about two photographers who were formerly married and remain business partners and how they waited 8 hours for Lindsay Lohan to show up.  Can’t say anything else other than the most indepth verbal exchange went like this: “Will you listen to me?” “Go away, I need to change my lens and I can’t do it with you talking to me.” “I just need you to listen to me …” “Shut the @#$% up and go away.” (I can’t do it justice, truly, because you have to envision the man speaking as if he was a thirteen year old girl from some Eastern European country–and I apologize to 13 year old girls in Eatern Eurpean countries for this particular slam against them. When Lindsay Lohan looks like the adult in the room, you know things are bad, bad, bad.)

My Tetris skills were demolished by the need to attend to this conversation, so I eventually got off my behind, turned off the television and came outside where the only distracting conversations (besides the ones in my head–but that’s another story) are between the cat and the birds.

I think we should recommend to the GA Planners that they host an “Introverts Lounge” somewhere at GA, for those of us who tend to overload on interaction with others.  I know, I know, we have hotel rooms where we can go off and be by ourselves (unless we are sharing said room with two teens and a spouse), but I think it would be even better for us if we could go somewhere where the rules are: 1. you may acknowledge each other, but only with a slight nod and no one will be offended; 2. you may sit in silence and read (or stare at the wall) and no one will interrupt you as if you are “doing nothing”; 3. in order to meet the needs of all those who wish to use the lounge, you will be asked to limit yourself to 15 minutes of introvert nourishment.

This makes it sound like I don’t like GA. Truth is, I do.  While there, I get to see and reconnect with a whole bunch of people that are really amazing, and I find that energizing. I get to re-vision what worship can be by experiencing forms different than what I have at home, and I find that energizing. This year I got to watch all of my daughters stretch themselves as well as their expectations of themselves, and I find that energizing.  I’ve also witnessed my daughters express concern for me in a new way, and while I didn’t find it energizing I was grateful to witness their compassion deepening as they continue their development into very fine young women.  Maybe it was energizing, afterall.  Finally, being able to see that the work I do is appreciated, well, there isn’t much that is more energizing than that.

But, I also feel depleted … understandably.  I think most of us do who spend the better part of the week on our feet and with our brains keenly tuned to nuance of both a political and spiritual nature should expect to feel the yin and yang of energized and depleted.  Today appears to be the kind of day the doctor ordered: a cat stretched out in the shade beneath me, a child making plans to see friends she doesn’t often see because her mother works, and a list of chores to do–the doing of which will reset the balance that shifted when the focus was on preparing for the thing that is now over.

Such restorative power in a patch of shade, a cup of coffee and a day stretched out before me.


About TinaLBPorter

I write poetry and blog at And I'm thrilled to be writing with you.
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5 Responses to GA: Recovery

  1. kinsi says:

    I *am* closer to 30 than 20 now. I am starting to get up here 😀

    I do see your point though. If I were working it, I’m sure I’d be zonked. I’m struggling just getting into the “Ok now, its time for you to actually get back to caring about your real job now” mindset instead of the “church church church church church” mindset.

    I did, btw, try and stop by the booth but I never seemed to catch you there. (Or, if I did, totally didn’t recognize you and went on my merry, confused way.) Maybe next year 😀


  2. Patrick McLaughlin says:

    It’s always delightful to have breakfast with people who love and appreciate you.

    (And, much as I *hate* to admit it, at 20 I’d have had a lot more energy for all of GA and the post-GA enthusiasm. These days, I’m aware that I really need to arrive prepared and rested, that taking some down time during it is crucial, and that I need to unpack (physically and mentally) over a longer time span. Which does have some advantages. Some.)


  3. uuMomma says:

    Hey Kinsi and Patrick: I’m always glad to hear that my experiences are not universal. And I would certainly expect a 20-something, first-time GA-goer to have a completely different experience than this old broad who is, as Patrick noted, working the event (wait, I think that may have come out wrong :)) To which I say: Go us.

    And Patrick: I think one of the most sane and gentle times I had during GA was having breakfast with you and Joe. So, thanks!


  4. kinsi says:

    Wow. The opposite has happened to me – GA has so energized me, so, well, stoked me, I can’t get the ideas out of my head. I had a telephone meeting with a district exec and I came away from it so energetic I literally wanted to burst into song. I went and grabbed a hymnal.

    Now that I’ve simmered down, I’ve got Harry Potter on in the background and about to get to work changing the world. *cracks knuckles* Just glad I had today off work 😀


    • Patrick McLaughlin says:

      kinsi, I don’t know if you identify as an introvert. That might explain some of it. And some of it, well… has to do with our hostess’s being at GA at work, “on” almost non-stop in a way utterly unlike what she deals with at work (even, I think, during J-term…).

      As an extrovert (me, that is), GA is a rush. But even for me it becomes exhausting. Of course, this year I wasn’t a delegate (intentionally, for solid and appropriate reasons) and was grappling with other issues and carried a certain amount of fatigue *to* GA with me. (Mostly all better now!)

      Still, I remember leaving Ft. Worth so on fire that it survived the long drive back to San Diego, and two days broken down in El Paso, and still bubbles a little now and then. One’s role and circumstances shape the experience of GA, too….

      (So glad you’re on top of changing the world; someone needs to be on duty…)


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