A Little Hokey Pokey

Getting Lucky at SpeakEasy

With God, all things are possible. This I know for sure. I am most certain of this truth when I stand before our community on Sunday morning. Looking at the growth, the organization and the care that is happening at SpeakEasy, I am amazed. I know I had little to do with this, except that I said “yes” when every cell of my being wanted to say “no”.

A few years back, I was facilitating a vision board workshop for a small group in my old “treehouse” office in Western Springs. At the end of the process, I got the clear and yet confusing direction that said to me “Going to the chapel.” I had no idea what that meant and I even laughed with the group, asking, “I hope this doesn’t mean I am getting married… again. Twice was enough for me!”

A few days later, I met with my friend, Tracy Ford, to talk about creating a summer camp for kids. She would do the singing and I would teach the acting and improv. “If we get too big, we can just rent out this little chapel,” she said as she handed me a brochure for Immanuel Hall. My eyes almost fell out when I saw the picture. It was the exact one that I had seen in my head a few days earlier! I told Tracy, and asked, “What does that mean?” She shrugged and we went on with our plans.

A few days later, while teaching A Course in Miracles, it hit me, clear as a bell and I found myself blurting out to the class, “Oh, I am supposed to go to that chapel and open a church! Honestly I said, “a F*#%!ing church”. The class laughed and agree that this was the next right step for me.

As soon as the revelation came, fear and doubt stepped in. How could it be? I wasn’t a REAL minister. I got my license online and although I had been teaching and preaching for years, I did not see myself as a “church lady”. I cursed and wore tube tops for Christ sake… oh and I took the Lord’s name in vain… the list of reasons was a mile long. Plus it scared the pants off me. I had a ton of resistance and a mountain of fear to push through. But, like a lady in labor, it also didn’t feel like I had much of a choice… except to push. So I did.

Over to the chapel we went, me and this small tribe of midwives. We found that it was open and available to rent. It seemed like it had been waiting for us. For me, it was love at first sight. What a lovely space; the stain glass, the steeple, the energy. It was simply beautiful.

Slowly I came to see that much of the fear and resistance rested on the illusion that I was doing it on my own. Thankfully I was to find that I was not alone in this endeavor. As I said “yes” to my part a million hands reached out in support. Charlene Vickory, the world’s greatest wing woman, sat knee to knee, and eye to eye for the first two years. She (and our whole family) held space, and shared lessons and inspirations. We called ourselves Sanctuary and struggled to find our identity.

For a short period we moved locations to Charlene’s yoga studio in Brookfield. There we shrunk to a handful of diehards and changed our name to SpeakEasy. In January we headed back to the chapel and seduced Cathy Richardson (the lead singer of Jefferson Starship) to be the musical director. This was like a powerful fertilizer and the community began to swell and grow and thrive.

Every Sunday since we have joined to celebrate and navigate a bolder truth for ourselves and each other. With little effort, many helping hands, and lots of love and laughter we are watching our community expand. With each expansion, so goes my heart (corny but true).

I think about my dad and how he always said, “I don’t know how I got so lucky!” That’s how I feel. Though, I know “luck” had nothing to do with it. It was LOVE all along. You put love in, you get love out. Sincerely simple.

Turns out the Hokey-pokey has the math right. So I thank YOU for putting your love into our community. I know that it returns to you abundantly.

If you haven’t gotten to the chapel yet, make haste! Someday soon we will outgrow this little slice of heaven. I have no doubt that wherever we grow, God will continue to roll out the red carpet. With God, all things are possible. Especially for those who love more and fear less.