My name is Karen Blevins, and I have been a practicing Catholic for 33 years and a parishioner at OLOL for 18 years. As an active member of our church, I participated in the inaugural Welcome weekend and then served on the planning committee to host the second weekend. Now, I am thrilled to be involved in planning the newest one set for October 24 and 25.
As a retired teacher, I love words – speaking them, hearing them and writing them. I love how words often assist me in making sense of the world around us. Kristen Armstrong – athlete, mother of three, blogger and a Catholic – is a contributing author for Runners World and currently writes a monthly column on Tribeza.com. One of her blogs was entitled Getting Wet. It was the story of a mother and her young daughter, about her swimming skills and even her ability to compete. Her mother suggested maybe her goal should be not to win but rather to just show up and get wet. She reminded her daughter how she would be a total and complete success by just “getting wet”.
It’s simple. She needed to get over her fear and dive right in. Whatever happens after that, happens.
Well, I feel the opportunity to attend a Welcome weekend is a bit like our little swimmer. It should be simple; sign up, get wet and enjoy what the weekend brings. I have gotten wet three times and will continue to dive in where I can. Yes, it is an intense experience; talking of God, sharing evidence of His authentic and unconditional love for all of us, His understanding of choices made and to be made, and His forgiveness and grace. Everyone has a story and Welcome is the perfect opportunity to share our stories with others. It is also a time to meet and really get to know your fellow parishioners on a more personal level.
During my Welcome weekends, it was beautiful hearing about the joys and struggles of like Christians and how God was always right smack in the middle of all of them. Life is like that; everyday might bring new beginnings or new endings. I was amazed at how my spirituality grew leaps and bounds in such a short time of sharing. Getting wet led to getting soaked!
Kristen also says there are two kinds of yeses-our initial yes and our implied yes. The initial yes for you is signing up for Welcome and requires openness and willingness. Your implied yes is more complicated. Many worthwhile things-relationships, raising children, building a career-all require a million forms of YES after our initial yes. A YES says you are all in, ready to get wet, and being excited for what happens after.
Be all in and do something special for yourself and those in your life. Commit to the Welcome weekend.
The biggest implied yes is often to uncertainty. We often have no idea what the next hour or next day may hold, but honestly how exciting is that when it relates to God and His plans for you?
For more information, see our Welcome web page here: https://ourladylake.diojeffcity.org/welcome/