It was a “let’s see if we like each other” dance that began in 2010. Eight graduates of The Seattle School would get on the 8:25 ferry on Saturday mornings and Dan and I would be at the Winslow ferry terminal and “ferry” them to our home. I would have coffee, tea and snacks in my husband’s office and, after briefly greeting them, I would return home and begin preparing lunch for nine people. At noon they’d come to our home for lunch and then off they’d go back to Dan’s office while I cleaned up and began preparing dinner for everyone.
It was a familiar role that I had been good at in the past. I had hosted students since 1983, and I liked being part of my husband’s work. I met amazing people and gathered quite a few wonderful friends over the years. Keith Anderson, president of The Seattle School, asked Dan to mentor a handful of men and women to carry on his legacy. How could I not be behind such a thing?
After six months of meeting together, the opportunity arose to take the new certificate program to St. Louis. We boarded the plane for the very first certificate program for Trauma and Abuse. It was wild and risky and scary and good. It was hard. My role as the sole intercessor was rigorous. By the end of the last weekend I was suffering with pneumonia, and it seemed linked to the freedom of the participants in their valiant story work.
The final goodbye lunch of the Certificate program with the teaching staff ended with a hearty “hazzah” by everyone! Dan, with tears, exclaimed that he knew that this would be the group who would carry his coffin one day. What? I was furious! I had felt this before with Dan loving people in an intimate way and them loving him back in ways that did not include me. I realized I could be stoic and act unaffected by his words and escape to our early flight on United without the team knowing anything was wrong. But, I did not do that.
I chose to honor my story in being Dan’s wife who was often outside of the circle. I chose authenticity and when it was my turn to share how I was feeling I turned beet red and burst into tears.
“It’s happened again! He has come to love you all and I barely know you.”
It was a shocking moment and I did not care that I had thrown water on a beautiful fire of bonded friendship. My love for them was not the same. How could it be? I was not in the intimate sharing of stories. At that moment our ride to the airport arrived and we quickly said goodbye.
God is a trickster and in His goodness had arranged for the donor who had funded this entire year’s travel and hotel stay of ten people to drive us to the airport. He peppered Dan with questions of the year and the experience. He listened intently and he also spoke, over and over again, “Becky, this will never work without you. Becky, the only way this will work is for you to be intensely involved with prayer.”
He had no idea of what had happened or of my tears that burned as they flowed down my cheeks. He had no idea that I could barely look at my husband and could hardly imagine ever traveling with this troop again. I was in agony.
I was relieved when we got to the airport, but even on the flight home I could not escape his words. I knew he was right. The following year my friend Annie agreed to pray with me, this time in Chicago. Again I saw the immense goodness of what was happening for the participants. I watched them change and prayed for them while longing to be in their shoes.
What was my inner war? I was watching strangers, acquaintances, and dear friends do battle and come out of the fight more alive and free. I wanted the same, but couldn’t risk asking if I could come as a participant. It has been a long life not being able to ask for what I want.
I remember when I was young not being able to make it across the monkey bars. But I was too afraid to let go. I waited until my arms were numb and stuck to the bars. Two mothers noticed and pried my fingers away from the bars. They saw I needed help, I couldn’t cry out. I felt the same this time. I wanted to be a participant, but I didn’t know how to ask.
The moment came. It was a casual, normal evening after dinner. Dan and I sat on the couch and I asked him: “What do you think about me being a participant in the lay leader program?”
His face was pained. “Where are we going to find another intercessor like you?” My stomach tightened. I knew he had not heard the depths of what I really wanted. I said it again: “I want as much transformation as I see in the lives of those you fight for.”
I think we both saw what I was saying at the same moment. I want in. I want to be part. I don’t want to be alone. I want to come and play like all the other kids and when I am afraid I want someone to notice and help me down from the monkey bars.
My time in The Allender Center has been life changing. My friend Annie said: “Isn’t it amazing that God used a ministry with your last name to bring such healing for you?” It is true. But for all I gained in my training, I think the deepest transformation came when I risked and asked if I could come.
Becky Allender lives on Bainbridge Island with her loving, wild husband of almost 40 years. A mother and grandmother, she is quite fond of sunshine, yoga, Hawaiian quilting and creating 17th Century reproduction samplers. A community of praying women, loving Jesus, and the art of gratitude fill her life with goodness. She wonders what she got herself into with Red Tent Living! bs