The last few weeks have been a confusing, at times disturbing, at times exhilarating mix of events and experiences which have left me … well the heading to this entry says it best … Discombobulated. It’s the only word I know in the English language to describe it. Am I on an emotional rollercoaster or a giant mental centrifuge? It seems as though the ride can change moment to moment.

Five years ago today I thought I had found a church family and a pastor that would eventually scatter my ashes. But the events there of the last few months have left me with a questioning sadness that breaks by heart and has given me reason to consider leaving. I don’t want to do that. I have made the most incredibly wonderful friends, but many of them have left and that is the real heartbreak.

Over the last year, I’ve developed a sense of responsibility to the people there that has frequently left me feeling tied down and that isn’t good at all. I want to be there out of a sense of joy at the thought of the fellowship I will experience each Sunday morning and often during the week. And therein lays a part of the discombobulation.

As things began to unravel I realized I was actually sensing a feeling of release. I was thinking that without that responsibility I could, with a clear conscience, leave Phoenix and return to Durango where I came from. That thought alone was scary enough. How would “Georgia” be accepted there? Then when I considered the friends, the “family” whom I was totally attached to aside from our church relationship, I felt that I would be deserting them as well as losing their companionship. Sadly, I began rethinking my future. Then, I spent last week in Atlanta.

I’ve never had such a wonderful time doing something I was getting paid for. I certainly didn’t go there anticipating that experience. I’ve been to more than a few training sessions and seminars in my life, and while they’re generally beneficial, I for one have generally been left with a flat feeling for the effort. However, this experience was totally unlike any previous educational event I’ve ever attended. But, I need to go back to the beginning, a very good place to start, a phrase, as I recall, which is from a song in “The Sound of Music.”

I didn’t want to go to Atlanta, Home Depot Mecca, for two reasons. First, I was frightened by the thought of spending that much time in close company with people I didn’t know; people who certainly didn’t know “me”. Second, I didn’t think I needed to go, because I thought I knew everything I needed to know about the design program we were going to be trained in. I’m so glad that God saw fit to bless me with what I think is a well developed sense of humor. As it turned out, I needed it. I didn’t have much beyond a clue as to what the week held for me. On the first day, when asked to rate ourselves on a scale of 1 to 10 about our program expertise, I felt compelled to be honest and rate myself a 10. Like I said, luckily I have a sense of humor. When the week was over I now felt compelled to ask the lead instructor if I could revise my self-assessment of the first morning, down from a 10 to a 5.

The trip seemed somewhat dull and what I expected until I walked into the restaurant for dinner at the hotel that first night … that’s where “dull and expected” came to an abrupt halt. As I stood there surveying the room for an empty table, a group of ladies at a booth hailed me and invited me to join them … and the adventure began.

Over the course of the week I met and enjoyed the company of a number of women and one young man in the meetings of course, but moreso in the evenings around the pool, in the bar and in our rooms. Three of the women, with backgrounds totally different from one another, wormed their way into my heart, I suspect never to leave; and with good reason.

I have never entertained the thought that anyone getting to know me wouldn’t realize that I wasn’t born “Georgia.” And I never get insulted when someone see’s beyond the visual me; disappointed perhaps, but never insulted. People are people and many have never had the opportunity to experience much beyond their own tightly woven worlds. So when someone like me shows up it can be rather disconcerting. With that thought in mind I’m generally content to let people “wonder if maybe she’s not real”.

When I do share the reality of my existence with people it’s because I have grown close to them and don’t want an element of dishonesty on my part to discolor the relationship. That turned out to be the case with those three very special women in the course of the week.

I never know what it is in the nature of relationships I form, that prompts me to share my background with them, but it’s related to the desire for the developing relationship to be untainted by the possibility of incomplete disclosure of whom I’ve been as well as who I am. In this case I was overwhelmed with the response to my “revelation.” Later, the one I was closest to told me that when I left the room for a few minutes that the three of them just sat there stunned by what I had told them, and by my willingness to let them into my world.

I realized when the week was drawing to a close that I really didn’t want it to end. As we were boarding the buses for the airport I experienced a genuine sense of loss at the parting. I came home with a handful of cards from people I’d met over the week, but those three were more than “associates” to me. They are friends who will remain so to the day my ashes are scattered and beyond.

So, do you have a better idea of why feel a bit “discombobulated?” What a mixture of emotions.