Sunday, July 18, 2010

Internet & Italy

Well, they weren't speaking to each other this week, so with a delay of several days, as we wind up our SALT conference today, here's how the first day went!


“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”—Eph. 4:16

With some grace for jetlag, we each got into motion in our own rhythm yesterday morning, gradually finding one another, ‘to do’ lists clutched firmly in hand (or in a computer folder). The last of our staff arrived, eyes twirling in his head. We assembled the nametags, then gathered for a lunch meeting, surprisingly light for Italian standards…fruit for dessert…and no coffee! What gives?! No colored tiles to be found, and no coffee?! We must be on the budget plan…

Our art supplies have yet to arrive. We discuss a Plan B, as some of them would be needed in about 3 hours. And I don’t know if I have a table coming for the mosaic project, or simply a support board that would become a wall hanging. The space they gave us was too small for our gathering; Bill ‘sorted it’ with the management. Did we need another table or two?

”Someone is at the registration table, Signore…”

Dileep runs off to attend to them, returning with the happy news that our OM Italy colleagues have arrived, looking about as wilted as they come, with all our supplies. I leave to help move them to the conference room, and find out about the mosaic project—table or wall hanging? Only a slight hesitation, then a hesitant:

“We’ll go buy something as soon as possible! We couldn’t fit another thing in the van.”

I loaded what art supplies were available onto the luggage valet, and got lost with Anna in the bowels of the building, trying to find our meeting room in the labyrinth. With the help of a plumber, and to the stares of his crew, we made our way into a room at the furthest point from anywhere in the hotel, and began the set up as registrants arrived upstairs. Trusting that whatever needed to still arrive would arrive in time to begin the mosaic project, Linda and I tackled the Italian easels, but had to admit defeat.

“Bill! Help us figure out these easels!”

Happy greetings among old and new friends could be heard throughout the hotel, backdrop to Dileep scurrying to finish up last minute photocopying, and Pat and Linda deciding “We need two more tables, and a tableclcoth!” Off to fetch those, while Linda ‘borrowed’ the flowers from the hallway arrangement.

“Jill, would you mind playing some background music as we start?”

“Colin, where’s your powerpoint?”

“How do we get these lights to work?”

Coffee! Not to be missed. Our first official gathering to welcome everyone—we hurry upstairs for a quick latte, trying to look cool, calm and collected, and then back down—to the organization of tables, tablecloths, flowers, tiles for the mosaic, and dropcloths. Rearrange the chairs. Figure out how the lights and shades and air conditioner work. Pray. Jill starts plunking on her guitar, centering us all down. And the noise of the crowd descends from the coffee bar to the spiral staircase, from the staircase down the corridor, and in to the space we will spend the next week in…

Folks from Finland, Italy, Germany, UK, Austria, Canada, France, USA, Ireland, and Kosovo….leaders from these fields, plus OM’s ship, the Logos II…a mosaic of artists or arts advocates, seeking to establish an arts ministry on their fields, hungry for the fellowship of the like-minded, now “joined and held together by every supporting ligament”—about to grow and build itself up in love, each part doing its work.

1 comment:

  1. How great to get the blow by blow! I'm so excited for your trip. Sounds like FLEXIBILITY is the word for the journey. Love the journaling-keep it flowing.