Did you know that today (July 13) is “Embrace Your Geekness Day”? I have to admit that I am a geek on several levels and having a day to fully embrace that is great. I am a sports geek. My office is filled with sports stuff—St. Louis Cardinal banners and all manner of Virginia Tech women’s sports items. I can quote obscure baseball and basketball facts.
But maybe the most disturbing geeky thing, at least to my son, is the fact that we find and visit nuclear power plants on our vacations. I have many photos of plants from the east coast to Kansas to Texas. My husband and I met at nuclear power plant in North Carolina, a great place for two geeks to find love. I have many more geeky things I could share, but I’ll save that for another time.
When I was first invited to attend a meeting of my congregational unit I will have to admit I was hesitant to go. After all, I was a “geek.” I didn’t quilt or even sew. I wasn’t a great cook. I didn’t get fulfillment out of cleaning the kitchen at the church after potlucks or funeral meals. After all, that was what Women of the ELCA was all about. How wrong I was!
I did attend that first meeting at the urging of my mother (they always know best). Yes there were quilters and wonderful cooks, but there was so much more to this community. They accepted me for me. They mentored me and helped me grow into someone who appreciated all the talents that are needed to be God’s hands and voice in our communities and the world.
As I have become more involved in my synodical and churchwide organizations, I have really seen how wrong my first impression of Women of the ELCA was. I have a friend who celebrated her bachelorette party by visiting the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (part of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum). We share a love of everything NASA. Plus, she’s an active young woman in her Women of the ELCA unit. I’ve met a college professor who is president of her synodical women’s organization and another president that reviews construction plans at a university. And I’ve me a lot of wonderfully talented quilters and magnificent cooks. There is a place for all of us in this community of women.
So if you are a geek, embrace that today and every day, and know that you are welcome in all your geekiness to be part of the Women of the ELCA.
Jody Smiley is vice president of the Women of the ELCA executive board and a member of St. Michael Lutheran Church in Blacksburg, Va.