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Do you have traits or characteristics that seem to conflict with one another?  I am an introvert by most definitions of the word, except when I am not.  I’m not sure if it’s an introvert thing or not, but I love conferences.  Just about any kind of conference.  The first time I attended one, I was hooked.

Those that know me know that I don’t care for chaos or disorder or the lack of a plan.  So, a lot of the meetings I attend leave me anxious and frustrated because it seems there isn’t always a real plan, or folks talk over and around each other and nothing really gets accomplished.  But, conferences are too large for that to happen.  Someone has to have a plan and there has to be order - someone has to be “in charge.”  This is wonderful for me; the real icing on the cake is when they start EXACTLY on time even if folks are still trickling in, stay on schedule and end on time.  Yeah, I guess I am a type A and a bit of a control freak (notice how I always throw in that “bit of” there).  I can hear my husband chuckling at that.  

I love showing up with whatever the particular conference has given you to make your attendance more meaningful. A notebook, a reference book, a pen, an extra pen in case that one stops working - you get the idea. I’m currently one of the representatives from our church to attend a conference that is held each year in June. I’ve attended these several times and couldn’t wait for the next opportunity. There was so much going on in the greater church and so much ministry I was excited to learn more about. They are usually incredibly organized - oh, how I love that! Then along came COVID. These were some of the resulting comments and notifications: “We still expect to be able to meet in June. We will plan to reschedule for August. We will plan to have a safe-distance meeting a little later with fewer attendees. We have rescheduled to a 1-day virtual conference at the end of August.” Oh, no.  Not more Zoom.  (Zoom will get its own post some day.) I hated the idea of not conversing with like-minded or even “unlike-minded” Christian friends, pastors, leaders; singing beautiful music together so loudly it shakes the room, shedding tears during moving remembrances of ministries ending and recognition of those just starting out in ministry.  

But due to the fact that some people had worked many, long hours to make sure this new style of conferencing came off without a hitch, it actually did. Or at least from the viewpoint I had from my little screens.  It started on time. We voted and it worked.  How it stayed on schedule I have NO idea, but it did. But I still missed it greatly. And though some have recommended this be done regularly, regardless, even as an introvert we need “our people.”  Even when they sit too close, sing too loud, or ask too many questions. We’re stronger when we’re together. Really together, starting on time.

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