Wednesday 18 Mar 2015 05:29
| acceptance, ceremony, community, contributing, friendship, giving and receiving, integrity, international, leadership, Rotary, service
|My brother and I with the Rotary Club of Ubatuba, SP, Brazil.|
The one-hour Rotary meeting I went to last night will be a treasured memory of my three week vacation in Brazil. Though I understood perhaps only ten percent of what was being said, it was the welcome I received that made the experience so worthwhile. There is a magic in knowing that I share the same values as the people who attended the meeting last night. The hearty handshakes I received and the kisses on my cheek spoke volumes of the shared fellowship that is Rotary around the world.
Ubatuba, the town I went to last night, is only four hours from São Paulo, where Rotary’s International Convention will take place this June. In my broken Portuguese, I could make that connection, along with another question that brought smiles to their faces: “How long have you been in Rotary?” Whether the answer was one year or twenty, I could tell these people were dedicated.
I went to a weekend retreat for women 20 years ago and I’ve been staffing it ever since. The Woman Within community has become a part of me, a place where I belong. My weekend in 1994 broke me wide open and showed me that it was okay to feel emotions I’d kept locked inside. I learned that I didn’t have to do everything on my own after all, that I could nurture the softer sides of myself, and that I could reach out to other women and they wouldn’t reject me. I found a lot of laughter, tears, love and hope that weekend and it has inspired me to continue on a path of growth and healing.