I was handed an apple this week, not by a child, but by a fellow religious educator at the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) Fall Conference. My colleague in this work did a lovely little worship element for the rest of us participating in a training before the main conference, presenting the background of why children gave apples to teachers (literally to feed them) and a nice story about an apple tree that wanted a star of its own, and reached and reached for one, only to discover that it was already full of stars – the center of each apple contains a star (if you didn’t know this, cut your apple in half along its equator and check it out). And then she gave each and every one of us apples.
I have been fed this week. So often, I am the one doing the feeding of others, both literally and metaphorically. Although my congregation loves me and treats me very well, and although I am nourished by children’s smiles and hugs from elders, it is my role in this system to care for them: in body, mind, heart, and soul; to bring them inspiration; to call forth transformation; and then to clean up afterward.
And so what joy it is to be on the receiving end, and to sit and listen as another tells a story, to be lead in song, to be inspired, to be cared for, to feel transformed … and then to know that someone else is cleaning it all up afterward. I have been literally and metaphorically fed.
Thank you so much, LREDA, the volunteers who stepped up to make this conference work, the speakers and musicians and organizers and teachers and tech folks and probably some invisible labor that went on behind the scenes and I couldn’t see. It is a blessing indeed to be sent home fed, refueled for the labors, re-inspired for the work, and re-energized to give back to the world.