The Mystery of Being a Neighbor

Toward the end of my Gathering workshop I wrote, "Fear that this experience will have no significant impact on my life" (dodging the doubt that my entire life will pass with nothing much to show for it). Yet tucked in the pocket of my workshop binder is a slip of paper, a gift from a fellow worshipful workshopper. It says, "Thank you Robert," each word underlined three times, "for your note & what you said. Your words were so good and timely & needed at this point in my life. . . ."

Apparently such seeds of conversation, spoken or written, sustain a life of their own. I’m grateful to my writing workshop leader, who opened fresh pages each morning with provocative questions to explore. And grateful for the 2007 Gathering as a whole. Its theme records a scrap of conversation, " . . . but who is my neighbor?" lifted from a dialogue in Luke’s Gospel.

The Gathering gave me many such conversations with friendly neighbors old and new. Our lives are now more firmly interwoven in ways occasionally crystal clear, sometimes waiting to be further deciphered, and often—I suspect—forever totally undisclosed. My memories speak to you all. Your hearts still speak to mine.

—Robert Renwick
Morningside Meeting, New York, N.Y.