Saturday, August 06, 2005

overflow

**author's note: this is a long blog. try not to get bored. this one took a lot of energy.**

I am sitting in my office, overwhelmed, exhausted, and filthy. I am just finishing up one of the most...MOST weeks of my life (can I use most as an adjective?). I am also crying - this could be chalked up to a number of things - fatigue, pms, physical soreness, sunburn...but it's the spirit. I tend to seem allergic to the spirit - my nose runs, my eyes water...but it is, at this moment, overflowing.

Last Sunday morning, I left Provo at about 5:15 am to fly to Dallas for Seminar, which is Mary Kay's annual company-wide convention consisting mainly of awards, recognition, and excellent training. I will probably write more detail about this experience at another time...suffice it to say that it was a good trip. I got to my house on Wednesday night, just before midnight. Thursday was spent recovering and packing for what turned out to be the best Youth Conference I've ever attended. And if you know how much youth conference means to me, then you know that that's saying a LOT.

We (youth & leaders) met at the church on Friday morning for muffins (costco-sized), milk (chocolate) & grapes, prayed, then drove to Snow College. (I was the only chaperone without a spouse there - D & i don't have people that can just watch the girls while we go away for two days - i'm just grateful that Darin has a job that allows him time off so that I can do fun stuff.) 4 gals & 1 guy in my van opted to watch "School of Rock" on the trip south, which I let them do, even though I had hoped to chat. We arrive at Snow College and Jolly, Jolly James jumped out of the bushes to show us how to play 3-sided volleyball and too-big-of-a-playing-mat Twister. I did hit the bishop in the head with a v-ball. His wife got it on tape. Also, we saw an owl. I had never seen an owl.

We ate our sack-lunches from home and then checked into our apartments. We stayed in very decent apartments - 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, balconies (please don't jump off of them) - I mean, it's not the Glenwood, but it was great for a youth conference residence. I roomed with Ashley, a cute newlywed who is very sharp, very sweet, and very in love with her husband, but not in an annoying way. She is also Curly's primary teacher, so she understands what "lippy stuff" is.

Friday afternoon was spent playing water games on a big field. Man, that was so fun. And i got FRIED - I think i've had exactly two sunburns ever, so this was queer for me. We were divided into teams with stupid names. We competed. We lost - the other team cheated. We had to pair up. Darin wasn't there. I got to be with the kids. Had to.

After we changed clothes, we had a fireside at the Institute building. This fireside was taught by a couple who I don't know very well. Actually, the wife (who i'm near certain will never read this) has been a challenge in my life. She was one of the first people I met when i moved into my house, and from that day, for over TWO YEARS, I have felt that she didn't like me. I have spent far too many hours disliking this girl, energy spent and wasted on gossip. And, as I sit here crying about it, I am proud to announce that I no longer harbor ill feelings for this person who just earlier in the week I described as my arch-nemesis. She is a fine, beautiful woman, and I hope we develop a friendship, and soon. After the fireside, we had dinner, spaghetti & green beans, which happens to be one of my favorite meals.

A few hours to kill until the dance. Had someone do my hair - that was nice. Tried to use bronzer to cover up my sunburn problem, to no avail and the great amusement of the laurels watching. Then we went to the dance. I cannot describe to you how much I love to dance. I have waited LITERALLY YEARS to get an opportunity to go to a dance. I had a blast. Danced with my girls to great songs. Did line dances, even though they were doing the electric slide wrong. I even, get this, did the Bye, Bye, Bye dance. Yes, I know practically every move, and it was almost time for the dance to end, and I was so tired, but I heard the song and couldn't help myself. I think I probably looked a complete fool, but I didn't care. It was so freeing to do that dance somewhere other than my family room. And I felt I still had it - that my 28 year old heavy-set body once so fit could still dance and keep it up for hours and love it was such a high for me. Didn't get to slow dance.

Breakfast this morning was rubber-pancakes, slimy bacon (I'm talking Better Off Dead), and chewy hashed brown slivers-n-cubes. Drink was either 2% milk (gag me) or tampico (shoot me). I hoped this wasn't an omen.

Then we drove up some canyon to participate in a ropes course. Now, this may seem out-of-order; a ropes course is usually first in the order of things so that it establishes bonding. But ours was today, the last day, all day.

First obstacle was to climb the "eagle's perch" - a telephone pole with huge staples to climb on and a wobbly wooden disk at the top. Climb, stand on disc, jump to trapeze about 10 feet away. I got to be a belayer - it had been years since i had done that, and it was great fun (wearing gloves that said "Devin"). I didn't get to climb, which, looking back, was fine, although i really wanted to at the time.

Next was a human slingshot thingey that everyone got to do. Even the Bishop.


The plank was just like the eagle thing, but instead of a wobbly disc, there was...that's right, a plank. And instead of jumping to grab a bar, you had to try to grab onto a ring, maybe 2 or 3 feet in diameter. I belayed again. One of the girls in my class did this one. I was touched by her performance. Clearly scared out of her wits, she froze...until someone mentioned the pole being John Mayer, at which time she scurried up as quickly as she could. Once on the plank, I could tell she was trying not to cry. This is the girl that I was worried wouldn't like me when I began my calling and first met the class. She holds a special place in my heart, and I love her so much. She shines and is beautiful and has strength that she doesn't realize. This girl that seems to have a tough exterior, sometimes even seems to scowl, couldn't be softer, and she was facing big fears here. I was so proud of her. She was terrified, and SHE DID IT. I also did it. Remember that 28 year old dancer that I was so proud of? It betrayed me. I was shaking at the top of that pole, trying to walk across a wobbly balance beam (which is different when it's 4 inches off the floor). My mind was fine with the situation, and my body was uncontrollable. It was extremely frustrating. My fingertips grazed the ring. No dice.

Then we did a hold-to-the-rod activity using twine, but there were no blindfolds, so the youth were told to close their eyes. Leaders were scattered throughout to guide or lead astray, and at the end, the bishop led them by the hand to leap over the raging river of death (a creek about 4 inches wide) and there they wait for the others. I sat down on the ground to be a literal stumblingblock. I saw atleast two kids open their eyes. I suspect more.

Our lunches in white boxes came with a ketchup packet, in case you needed it for your oreos. At the end of lunch, a dear friend said something to me that hurt my feelings deeply. I didn't know how to handle it. For the next three activities, it ate me up, and my sadness grew. I could not let this go - it gnawed me, and I knew I had to say something. I approached her, not knowing what to expect, and I am so glad I did. There had been a communications error somewhere, and she hadn't even known, hadn't given it a second thought...what a lesson. I'm not sure why I included this in my blog, but maybe it will help someone...and, Friend Mentioned Here, later when we chat, I'll tell you why that was such a deal for me. (*hug*)

Those three activities were the most intense for me...well, the first involved making a human chain to walk across braided steel ropes - like a tightwire - and it involved some heavy teamwork. I was so moved by how the kids all worked together. I didn't really do anything.

Now for the craziness. A wall, oh, I'd say...15 feet high, flat, and we need to get over it. Only three people can be at the platform at the top helping. Those three had to have gotten to the platform by climbing the impossible wall. Others can help people over the wall by lifting, etc. Two minutes to discuss a game plan. Then, go to work.

No talking allowed.

I don't know why this affected me so profoundly. So frustrating to be working out possible better solutions in my mind and not be able to say them. Such a feeling of working together. After a miserable go, we got a second chance, and worked out a better way to work it. I played an intregal part, inhaling dust, getting stepped on and climbed on and fallen on, and it was exhilarating. It was so physically demanding, and I was more out of breath than I have been in a long time. This was my favorite obstacle, and I had to hold back tears when it was done. I can't explain why.

Next, swing on a rope, tarzan-like, and stand on a square wooden deck, 3 feet x 3 feet. See how many people can fit. We fit lots.

Then the trust fall. While I had contemplated doing this, I decided not to the second that our leader, Holly, told us that before we fall back into the trusting arms of our friends, we had to come up with something ugly, some fear or weakness that we wanted to let go of. And also a good trait, something positive we choose to replace ugly thing. This terrified me. Though we didn't have to say what these things were out loud, I wasn't prepared to face my demons. In fact, this was when I talked with my friend about the misunderstanding. I think if I'm going to do the trust fall I need to hand-pick people from my life that I venture to say would catch me.

Lastly, I belayed some more while people climbed up a pole, walked across a log holding on to nothing, then across a tightrope holding on to ropes hanging down from a higher wire, which they had to lunge for since they were spaced so far apart. Kiss the blarney tree and you're done.

We gathered, prayed, and drove home, not before stopping at Maverick so that I could get a Full Throttle to stay awake. The 5 in the car (all girls this time) chose to listen to music. First was one of the 3 cds of the recording of the DMB concert i was at at usana last september. Then the new Coldplay. The girl from my class that I mentioned earlier, the one that walked the plank, was sitting shotgun. We talked music and concerts and sang along. That was bonding for me. I was filled up. Almost all of the other girls fell asleep, but woke up once we reached Spanish Fork. We blasted Speed Of Sound all the way to the church. Dropped some off, gave some girls rides home. Pulled into my driveway. Walked in and could tell that they were hiding, and I was to find them. I barely recognized my family that I have ached for this week. I'm sure that I was also unrecognizable.

They are all downstairs now, waiting for me to unload all of this and go be with them. I can't wait to cuddle Curly , to have Superstar yank my ear off, and to plan next week with Darin. I've already sent li'l ~j. to bed, but I'll probably get her out so she can cuddle, too.

My body is weak, sore, scortched and disgustingly dirty. My cheeks and eyes sting, and i am dehydrated from crying. I doubt I'll ever get the dirt from my nails, and my clothes look nothing like they did when i put them on this morning. But my soul is filled. My cup is overflowing. From a youth conference that had one fireside where we wore casual clothes, had no scripture chases and no testimony meeting. At least, no formal testimony meeting. I am kind of afraid of taking a shower, because I don't want this feeling and what I've learned this weekend to wash away.

18 comments:

c jane said...

Jenny,
I too JUST got back from Youth Conference today (we were at USU). When I read the paragraph about you being a 28 year-old dancing the night away, I thought I was reading my own blog! How easily the boot scootin' boogie comes back!
I did, however get to slow dance. One of our sweet young men asked me and it was perfectly awkward. Just like I remember it.
Good, good times.

~j. said...

I was dying to dance with one of the young men so that i could do the whole, "so...where are you from?" thing, even though they wouldn't get it. I actually learned the boot-scootin' this time - every other time I heard it in my life, I was break-dancing.

Stephanie Aurora Clark Nielson said...

jenny, i am glad you had such a spiritual, wonderful experince...I really enjoyed hearing about your emotions and feelings...you are such a great lady!!!

jaynes said...

Anytime-you and me. Trust fall.

La Yen said...

Keep in mind that I am PMS-y...
I feel like such a piece of hud after reading htis blog! I am so glad that you had a great time, and that everything is going so well--I just feel so selfish--I miss you so much. It is hard to not be there to hear this in person from next door. It is hard to hear that you are a better person than I and now have no arch-nemesis. I just feel like an absolute toad. Are we still friends? Sometimes I feel like we are too far away to be nayvors anymore. That makes me sad. On the plus side, I am proud of you for doing all of that stuff. You were born to be a YW leader.

~j. said...

oh, jen. after darin and james, who do you think is next in line at the trust fall? of course we're nayvors, and friends, and i probably still have lots of arch nemesisses...nemesi...what's the plural on that? anyway, she's just not one of them anymore. ps - bring w to the trust fall.

La Yen said...

I took some Midol, things are better...

MOM said...

Jenny,This was great! Can I be there for the trust fall? I am so glad you got to dance, I have always loved watching you dance. Especially with Brittan and Paula Abdul.I love YW and wish I had it when I was younger, even when you & B were younger. Love ya, MOM

~j. said...

it was with brittan and stevie nicks.

La Yen said...

Whatever. You know that you had those really big hoop earrings and wanted to make out with that cartoon cat...

~j. said...

be that as it may...i had no tap shoes or access to arsenio hall. it was stevie nicks.

Jennifer said...

Okay, I was there and you are AWESOME at the "Bye, Bye, Bye" dance! And just a note to everyone else -- do NOT mistakenly say that the Backstreet Boys sing it, unless you want Jenny on you so fast and furious (in a nice way, of course)! N*Sync is better, anyway :)

~j. said...

amen.

~j. said...

and props to Partridge for including the * in N*Sync.

Stephanie Aurora Clark Nielson said...

how did you check your hits?

~j. said...

uh...what?

~j. said...

oh! i think i know what you mean (cjane?). k, click on "view my complete profile", and then look on "user stats".

MOM said...
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