When my birthday comes around every January, the present I really look forward to opening is the one from my Irish Twin and my brother-in-love. It’s hard to believe that one gift could deliver friendship, creativity, adventure, and beauty, all in one, but it does.
For many years now, they have generously given me a weekend at their beautiful Riverbend, a waterfront cabin nestled in the mountains of North Carolina. This annual trek has become an even sweeter gift because I share it with group of my girlfriends I affectionately call the Riverbend Girls.
In the beginning, I felt like the host, taking it upon myself to plan every meal, every activity, every movement. Honestly, I was exhausted before I even arrived. Instead of letting the weekend unfold, I managed it. When you feel responsible for the whole world, it is easy to do that. Let’s save that for another post.
One year, I was completely spent and came up with the idea of asking each participant to plan an activity and to plan a meal with another. This one idea transformed a wonderful weekend into a unique, intimate experience.
The activities were sprinkled throughout the weekend and were a surprise to each of us – painting, 15 ways to tie a scarf, scones and tea while being read to, a journaling exercise, clock making, jewelry making, praying for our children. As each person led their activity, a piece of themselves was revealed. Their creativity leaked out and dripped onto us all. The meals were special too, as each pair looked like they were dancing, creating in their aprons while the rest of us sat by the fire.
I have learned that creativity can be both a personal and shared experience. When we allow others to create, to take part in our lives, a piece of them in imprinted onto our hearts, and a piece of ourselves is imprinted on theirs. I love that in my desperate exhaustion I gave up control of managing this gift and allowed others to express who they are. I can’t wait to open up Riverbend in a couple of months. I am not sure exactly what will happen, but I know I will be wowed once again.