Day Three -- Bye Felicia
Well, this is where I process my day-to-day life for the first year since…well, you know.
The past two days I’ve been at a LandMark Forum conference.
My post-LandMark thoughts?
First, it is possible to gain insight and truth in almost any context, even if it espouses a different foundational worldview than I do. If it’s truth, it’s truth, whether you attribute it to God, Buddha, or the Ninja Turtles. I came home today with some valuable tools to use now and probably for the rest of my life. Some of those tools and insights came from the LandMark curriculum and some from simply listening to my fellow attendees share about their experiences and breakthroughs.
Second, LandMark will hand you a worldview (nihilism) on a silver platter. So if you are in search of a worldview or are willing to sift through theirs to get to some of the tools that are helpful for you, LandMark might be something to look into. You need to know that around 8-10 hours of the course will be spent telling you how important it is to invite lots of people to the Tuesday evening session where your friends and family can experience the power of LandMark and have the opportunity to sign up for the LandMark Forum.
So why am I home spending a lovely evening with my family tonight instead of sitting in an uncomfortable chair at the LandMark Forum until 10 pm?
After three hours of coaching this morning on how to not take “no” for an answer when I invite someone to Tuesday night’s session, followed by a straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back incident, I chose to end my LandMark Forum experience early, having gratefully extrapolated the value that was there for me.
The incident? The leader of the forum asked an attendee who had just shared for the very first time to anyone that she had been sexually assaulted as a child to forgive her abuser. Oh, but wait, there’s more. She issued the young lady an additional challenge. “Call him.”
You can hold whatever view you wish, but my view is that this is irresponsible and cruel. I won’t elaborate. This isn’t the place for that.
To give you further insight into the Forum, when I left, a LandMark staff member came outside after me to find out why I was leaving. I’m a grown-ass adult and you’re going to follow me to try to talk me into staying? During the next break, the leader of the Forum called to urge me to return so that I could get the punch line of LandMark and be “free.”
I believe she believes that really is what’s best for me. I don’t fault her for that. And honestly, yesterday she offered some words of wisdom to me personally that I will carry with me in the days and months to come.
I didn’t need to spend 8 1/2 more hours to hear the punch line — “Everything is empty and meaningless. And it’s meaningless that it’s empty and meaningless.” This is nihilism in a nutshell. It’s not new or unique to LandMark. LandMark is free to have their punchline. Their punchline is not my punchline.
I believe I was fearfully and wonderfully made by a loving, intelligent Creator who imbued my life with purpose by virtue of my existence. I glorify the One whose idea it was for me to exist when I live a life of love, reflecting His very essence. I don’t recall once hearing the leader saying the word “love” as part of the core LandMark curriculum. Except when she randomly informed us, “By the way, you know your dogs don’t really love you, right?”
I would be remiss not to acknowledge the breakthroughs that occurred this weekend. Adult children reconciled with estranged parents, siblings long disconnected embraced the possibility of becoming friends again, spouses demonstrated vulnerability that opened lines of communication with their partners. That is powerful stuff. Life-changing stuff. Stuff that matters.
The strength of LandMark is its ability to motivate and inspire people to build relational bridges now, not someday. I can’t replicate the entire Forum experience, but the relational piece here is pretty simple. If there is someone in your life with whom it is safe to communicate and you feel there is a bridge to be built, forgiveness to be offered, or gratitude to be expressed….do it. Now.
Bottom line, I’m glad I went. I love new experiences and learning opportunities of every variety. And I met some wonderful people.
I am so very grateful for friends who prayed for me this weekend, for parents who introduced me to love and security in God, for my hero Aunt Cho who sponsored my Forum experience, for my family that makes me want to come home and spend the evening with them.
Even though I missed the punchline.