This is an account from an individual as they think about aspects of a successful reflections gathering:
Our recent reflections gathering was different than previous ones. At times, the reflections gathering can be seen as a bully pulpit, to stress the importance of following the plan, to get more Baha'is involved in the core activities and to try to move forward as a collective. We know and long for the sweetness of the culture developing, one where we see ourselves walking hand in hand, treading a common path of service, learning from each other and rejoicing in the progress and service of others with distinct goals of starting more core activities and building in ourselves and others a vision of individual and collective transformation fueled by the Revelation of Baha'u'llah. But how does this get translated into our reflections gatherings? How does everyone come out with practical steps to take to start new core activities? Strengthen existing activities? Share with new souls the Beauty of Baha'u'llah's Message and Station? Invite new friends to be a part of this process of empowerment?
These were the questions before the friends planning the reflections gathering. A few steps of progress were made and below is an account of what happened:
In preparing for the reflections gathering, it was decided that it could be helpful to have a range of stories shared, as there is a large diversity of experiences in the field of service. So, a broad range of individuals participating in a core activity or teaching experience were asked to share stories. A very sweet account was shared, from an older member of the community. He described his desire to help out with the junior youth program, and the skepticism of his family... since he didn't fit the usual profile of youth animators. He persisted, however, and began going with a very grateful animator to support his group. At first, this member of the community was not sure how he could be of service, or if he was even being useful. But he enjoyed being with the junior youth and seeing them study, learn and grow. So, he kept going to the group. Soon, he realized that a major obstacle for the group was having a quiet, calm place to meet. He took it upon himself to help arrange a room for them in a local community center, which they were then able to use throughout the winter. His service on the Local Spiritual Assembly also was helpful in this process, to channel information and resources in the right directions to get access to a room.
Everyone was uplifted, hearing this account. It gave the gathering a humble, joyful tone that carried through the planning and goal setting activities.