One of the more delightful things we provide at The Lasting Supper is the occasional video meet-up. It’s just another way for TLSers to connect, and those who participate enjoy them very much!
A while ago when we had one I felt the usual stress to make people happy. I felt a lot of internal pressure to be an able facilitator, a good moderator, and an effective leader.
Note: This pressure was self-inflicted. The expectation was self-imposed. The stress was self-made.
Some people ask me how TLS manages to be such an amazing gathering of people and how we are able to be a peaceful community without much conflict. What makes TLS so special?
One day I want to sit down, reflect on it, and write down some points to eventually make into a book because I think our kind of community is going to be a necessary thing of the future, and I have something to say about how it is achieved.
But for now I can say this one ingredient is absolutely necessary:
I don’t have to be anything. I am free to be me. You don’t have to be anything. You are free to be you. And we mutually respect this allowance.
Here’s a confession: When I first started TLS, it was called davidhayward.ca because I was going to provide resources from my own experience and knowledge to people who were experiencing a stressful change in their beliefs, a loss of faith as they knew it, or were struggling with their relationship with their church or religion. I was going to be a teacher! Some kind of deconstruction guru.
Instead, what happened pretty quickly is that a community gathered that was made up of people who no longer wanted strong leadership, a guru, or a pastor. The kind of community I tried to let happen locally here for years was organically developing right before my eyes at TLS! Whenever I tried to be a strong leader, moderator, guru, or anything like that, it was met was a bewildering lack of being impressed.
No one in TLS needed leading. What we needed was a place to learn to lead ourselves!
And I love it. I’ve always dreamed of such a place, and here it is. But it takes me, an ex-pastor, a lot of getting used to.
Here’s an example. After a recent video meet-up we had, one of our members who was in the meet-up, Meghan Ableson, and I had a chat. I was feeling insecure because the conversation carried itself and the community members interacted without me needing to facilitate it. Plus, when there were silences, I felt like I needed to fix something. Was it a good meet-up? I felt uncertain and worried that people wouldn’t be satisfied. Meghan expressed concern that I not burn myself out. She insisted that it was a great meet-up. She said there was no need for me to feel that pressure to make things work. Just relax. Just let it happen. Just being me is enough. Don’t worry about structure, content, or flow. Nobody cares!
Thanks Meghan! And thanks TLS!
You see, you can’t prescribe or manufacture that attitude that is extended to everybody. But it’s this kind of quality that makes TLS special. The same space provided for you is provided for me. It’s thoroughly equal, level, and free. The space is the same for absolutely everyone.
I’m not sure what you call it, but I think this is the first item on the list of TLS ingredients!
Much love my friends!