It was cold. It was raining. It was typical Juneau. It was the last weekend in August. Our UMW (United Methodist Women) group had organized a day ‘out the road’ at a cabin at the Methodist Camp to relax. We called it “The Gift of Giving”. If you wanted to share you did. Priscilla made bread and showed us how to knead the dough. Sandy had a tea party. Sandi and Beth actually got several of us to knit. I did a class on meditation. A craft table was available. Each of us told a story, some true. Beth made these super grilled cheese comfort food staples. The part we loved was the part when each of us realized we didn’t have to do any of the above. There were plenty of places to curl up, wrap a knitted prayer shawl around you read, nap, think or just veg out.
In the Alaska Rainforest , bread baking, tea brewing, soup on the stove ,nothing scheduled; the day just rolling along listening to rain on the roof and soft conversations, with breaks to the outhouse as needed; I wondered why a girl from Dixie would feel so good? I have known these women for over a year of course and been through many sadnesses with some of them. But that was not the bonding element. The element was within each of us.
Women bond – yes we do. Syria, Gaza, Ukraine, Israel, Alaska or Mississippi women bond. Maybe that is why I am so sad on a global level right now, but so happy on a local level. My prayers and my tether will continue for all. But oh my, if I could just give a little bit of that “gift of giving” day to some of those mothers in those other places I would crawl on my knees to do that. In this world today, my gift, no my promise, my obligation, to them is using my voice and my prayers. And the strength and encouragement I get to do that comes from my Alaskan Women On Retreat.