By Susanne Dietze
Well, it's the last day of our Big Blog-o-versary celebration, so help yourself to a piece of cake!
One year ago when we launched Inkwell Inspirations, I was excited, petrified, and totally clueless, which tends to be a pretty fair description of me in any new situation. The first time I remember feeling like this was as a six-year-old, when my family drove me across town to a public park for a different sort of intiation. And much like the day we launched Inkwell Inspirations, I had no clue what was going to happen next.
I was a small kid who joined my 1st grade class six weeks into the school year. I didn’t know the other kids. Sure, they were probably nice and all, but finding myself in a park with these gals on a Saturday shot my stomach down to my acrylic knee socks.
My mother reminded me I was joining the school’s Brownie Scout Troop, the branch of the Girl Scouts for girls in 1st through 3rd grades. This get-together in the park was the big "initiation ceremony." But what I didn't get was why the girls were being led away, one by one, beyond a group of trees. And they didn’t come back.
“Ah,” my mom said. “But this is how it all begins.”
I still didn’t understand, but I knew I wanted to be a Brownie Scout, so I took a deep breath and went forward when it was my turn. My family and I joined some of the established Brownie Scouts along with the troop leader, Mrs. V., who recited some sort of poem about a pond that revealed the identity of the new Brownie Scout.
“Now repeat after me, and we’ll finish the poem together so you’ll know who the Brownie is,” she said.
Image by litlnemo via Flickr
So I repeated after her, “Twist me and turn me and show me an elf, / I looked in the water and saw…”
I was spun in a circle.
“Now," the leader encouraged, pointing down, “what do you see? Finish the rhyme.”
I looked down. Resting on the scraggly grass was tin foil, taped over cardboard and held down by a rock.
“Tin foil,” I said.
“The word you want rhymes with ‘elf,’” my mom prompted. Which made no sense. Tin foil on the ground didn’t rhyme with “elf.” What rhymed with elf? I went through the alphabet. A-elf, b-elf, c-elf, d-elf…
“Myself,” some kid said. I still recall the exasperated tone.
Ugh! Of course. I'm the new Brownie!
And so, with a lot of help from other people, a clueless little kid was initiated into something bigger than herself. (The irony of using another word which also rhymes with elf isn’t lost on me here.)
Joining Inkwell Inspirations was much the same way. I was greener than a Girl Scout sash, illiterate in the blogging world and fumbling through my writing, but I wanted to be a published writer. Then Gina invited me into a fold of much wiser writers, and with patience, compassion, and class, they taught me html and blogger, among a whole host of other things.
These women of the Inkwell – strangers one year ago – also prayed for me when my life got difficult, critiqued my writing, rejoiced with me when I finalled in a contest, and sent virtual hugs when I received a rejection that compelled me to seek out a box of Kleenex and a 70% cocoa chocolate bar, stat!
They also introduced me to others -- authors and readers alike who’ve inspired me, touched me, and encouraged me in all aspects of my life through their posts, comments, and emails. These folks helped build my faith, challenging me in my relationship with the living Lord Jesus. And I pray that I can help somebody in the same way that I've been helped.
It reminds me a bit of this verse from 2 Corinthians: "He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." (1:4, NLT)
We're supposed to share the comfort of God with others. And the skills He's given us. We're supposed to help each other in order to build up the Body of Christ.Image via Wikipedia
That day when I became a Brownie Scout was one of my first steps in learning how to give and receive help. It wasn't long before I was taught the ropes, and the camaraderie among the girls tasted almost as good as a box of Girl Scout Cookies. I remember welcoming new Brownie Scouts when it was their turn to look into the tin foil, encouraging them when they didn't know what they were supposed to say or do next. I was learning, without knowing it, how to be part of a Body.
One song we learned in Brownie Scouts is that sweet little round about friendship. Do you know it?
Make new friends, but keep the old, / One is silver and the other, gold.
Today I’m celebrating much more than the Inkwell’s Blog-o-versary. I’m commemorating my Silver and Gold Anniversary – the celebration of friendships new and old and the ways God uses every new beginning to build the Body of Christ.
How has God provided support for you in your journey? Who are the friends who shore you up in times of trouble?
To celebrate friendship, I’m offering a 4-pack of Gaila Graphics' gorgeous notecards. Please note that the pack up for today's giveaway aren't the ones shown in the photo: they’re of butterflies, aren't bound with a ribbon, and do not have the watercolor effect on the edges. You can use these lovely cards, donated by the generous photographer, Gail of Gaila Graphics, to send your love to friends new and old. To enter the drawing, just leave a comment with your email addy included below, spaced out to protect you from spammers. I'll pick a winner at random by noon on Saturday. And thanks for celebrating our first Blog-O-Versary with us!