By Susan DeVries, Kate Tucker, Ruth Halvorson, Mickey Monsen, Cecilia Wilson Holder, and Jan Young, Becketwood Members
In the winter of 2019, a working subgroup of the Chapel Committee developed a survey of Becketwood Members’ religious affiliations and spiritual desires. A number of responses to the survey indicated an interest in becoming part of a small group to share more deeply on personal matters.
In response to this Spirituality Assessment survey, a group of like-minded individuals formed a pilot study. This group included Susan DeVries, Kate Tucker, Ruth Halvorson, Mickey Monsen, Cecilia Wilson Holder, Joyce Besser, and Jan Young. Our intention was to have meaningful conversations about topics that matter to us. We met once or twice a month beginning in April. We found that this deeper connection with other Becketwood residents was nourishing and relevant. This blog will attempt to provide more detail about that experience.
A leader facilitated each session, and Kate Tucker initially served in this capacity. Once we were comfortable with the format, we rotated the responsibility. We developed a list of guidelines to which we all agreed, which included confidentiality, allowing participants adequate time to tell their story, and a willingness to listen intentionally.
After developing format and guidelines, we turned to the topics we wanted to investigate collaboratively. These topics included “listening,” “remembering those who have passed on,” “childhood memories that continue to affect us,” “friendships that have influenced us,” among others. We expressed an interest in ‘ultimacy and intimacy’—that is, our intention was to nourish authentic relationships through the sharing of experiences that matter deeply to us.
We discovered along the way that we valued these deeper discussions. Although there are many opportunities for social connections at Becketwood, there are not as many options for developing meaningful connections. We are in a unique position to accomplish this, as most of us plan to live here for the duration of our lives. At least in this small group, we agreed that we wanted to know other residents better.
We all have numerous stories that comprise the larger story of our lives. We all want to be heard and to tell various aspects of our story. This small group format allows for exactly that experience. In the process of telling these stories, we find common ground that we hadn’t known existed. In that finding, we make even stronger connections with our neighbors.
We think that others may wish to try this experience that we have found so meaningful. It is our intention and hope that we can help other groups to form and to experience substantive connections on a deeper level as we did. If this experience sounds like something that would interest you, please watch for the next blog on this topic.