Thursday, May 17, 2007

Smoke and Water

Many of you have asked if we're near the fires. Well, it depends on how you define "near"- the fires aren't super close to us (probably about an hour away), but this morning when I woke up the smoke was so bad I was convinced someone was having a bonfire in my living room. We're in official drought here- it needs to rain!

On another note...

Yesterday was the installation ceremony for the new board at PWOC. (The new executive board is pictured to the right) I wasn't quite sure what to expect (though we did have step-by-step instructions kindly printed out for us, as well as a rehearsal the day prior). It was quite an emotional day for many of the ladies.

Many installations (especially heavily-deploying ones like Ft. Stewart) will go through cycles of mass turnover. Last summer, many many people PCSed (moved) out, and many many PCSed in. Because of that, the ONLY ladies who attend PWOC now who were here 12 months ago are the retired ones. When the new crop of ladies began attending last fall, there wasn't a whole lot of direction. Tammy (the outgoing president) stepped up, and others filled in the other positions. With help from the ladies who have been here for 20 years, this chapter of PWOC began to grow once again. It's been a long and hard road for them, though- so passing the baton yesterday was filled with mixed emotions of sorrow... and relief!

After we all said our "vows," the outgoing board washed the hands of the incoming, then we invited all the ladies up who wanted their hands to be washed by us, the incoming. Up until that point, the ceremony hadn't been emotional for me- unlike others, it was the beginning of the road for me, not the end. But during that handwashing, "How Beautiful" was playing in the background, and I was struck with an overwhelming feeling. The washing was purely symbolic- but how symbolic it is! To be washed by the outgoing president and VP of spiritual life was humbling, as they were preparing me for the task ahead. Then washing the hands of other ladies who had come forward was a good reminder to me that the reason I am doing this is for them, not for my own agenda. (It's all about servant leadership, right, Steve? ;)

Then, after it was all over and we headed off to our board meeting, it hit me- this is it! It's one thing to say, "Oh, sure, I'll be the president next year..." It's another thing to have someone hand you binders and folders full of information because YOU are the one that now needs it... (I mean, come on- in what church's women's ministry are there 386 pages of guidelines and bylaws??)

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