Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer Con 2014

Summer con was fun. I took the Greyhound bus down and met some really nice people, one from Canada who does web design and is in his late 20s. I then had a very nice conversation with a nice lady who is my age from Edinburgh which is now on my list of places I want to travel. Mark and Kyle helped me out a ton by letting me stay with them on Thursday night. Mark was there but Kyle was at his house in Corvallis. I like all of their roommates who are wonderful people. Mark and I went to West Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in the morning and helped set things up and participate in the board meeting. I am really good at my job, and participated to the best of yay ability in the conversations. There were about 30 people there who ended up going at the end of the day, and if knew most of them already. About 5 people were going to their first YA con after Bridging and there were at least two people who were completely new. I helped cook breakfast on Monday. I was the touch group leader for my group consisting of Robyn, her friend, and Shawna, all of whom I hadn't met before. We were great and talked about inclusion, which was the theme for the con. For the first workshop I did some Tai Chi with my new friend from Ashland, and it was a slightly different form than what I originally learned. The second workshop was blues dancing which was the first time I did it, and the other people were really good. I learned quickly, and the one thing I need to improve on is using my arms when I dance by myself. At the middle of it a family who was driving north needed help with paying for a hotel room and we a number of us (including ourselves) pitched in even though most of us are the stereotypical starving college student. I have never loved my friends as much as when we practiced the second principle (justice and compassion in human relations) right there to the best of our ability. The big workshop including all people was to talk about how we as UUs make sure we are inclusive to as many people as possible. Makayla was in my group and she was awesome, along with 6 other people. We talked about how we make sure we let almost anyone join our fellowships and ministries without being so inclusive that we allow someone to engage in destructive behaviors that are contrary to our 7 principles and covenant. It is a delicate be lancing act when working with people to ensure that we keep ourselves safe while still not isolating ourselves from people who need our help. During the final worship I played Moonlight Sonata, Ave Maria by Bach/Gounod, and Clair de Lune which was naturally a total hit. At least 10 people complimented me on my piano playing. I played four times in the talent show, thee times on the piano accompanying other people and one time on the trumpet. I played Andante et Allegro by Balay (with a small introduction about who he is and saying it is one of my favorite trumpet pieces) and accompanied with our own Pete Seeger's Where Have all the Flowers Gone? while singing, a piece with Grant, and once with Kira from a musical. On my way back to the bus stop Mark kindly drove me back and is such a wonderful person who is kind to everybody he knows and a good friend.

I am always astounded by the love of my UUs that I am fortunate to experience on an almost daily basis and our willingness to help each other and others outside our community whenever we can. I will never leave this community.

One final thought on charity. I gave $10 to the family who needed a hotel room to visit their ailing grandfather, even though I have very little. The con was almost completely college students but we still were generous enough to make sure they wouldn't be hungry. Sophia only gave money when she knew they had kids, which is important. Resources are not limited and and we need to make sure that when we hand out cash which is extremely liquid that it will be used for what we the donors intend for it to go to. I practiced this as well when a man approached me at the greyhound station asking for money while he absolutely reeked of nicotine. I didn't give him money because I am certain that it will go to furthering his destructive addiction. Given how I am already going to pay for his chemotherapy when he gets cancer, and I absolutely refuse on moral grounds to fund the Child labor that goes into that extremely disgusting habit. If someone is truly hungry there are churches like mine and if they are scarred by conservative religion they can always go to the food bank, so I don't give people cash unless I know they really are in need like the family who approached us on Saturday or it is through an intermediary like the UUA which ensures that the cash will not go to furthering the unfair labor practices and disastrous health effects of cigarettes and the unjust way they are produced but instead to the services people need. If someone can afford a pack of cigarettes they can afford food. I refuse to participate in that industry in any shape or form given all the lives they have taken.

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