I’ll begin my reporting about the conference I attended by sharing with you about a young man I met. While I learned a lot from the workshops the biggest impact upon me was simply the encounters with the people I met there.
The young man’s name was Peter. The phrase “clean-cut” comes to mind. He wore a suit, dress shirt, and tie. His hair was cut close as fitting for a business man. His connection with the event had to do with publishing. He was responsible in some way for the primary text for the event, a collection of art visuals and writings reflecting the theme of the event, “Survive and Thrive”.
Every time I saw Peter he was smiling. Something was happening inside him; it seemed to me and, if asked to describe his feeling, he might have said “awesome” or “amazing”. I would see him having these engaged conversations with everybody around him, whether in workshop or in all the time spaces between.
I was sitting at a table in the conference room with my daughter Heidi as Peter approached and Heidi stood to talk to him and he said, holding his smile the whole time, “I am here to talk with your mother.” “Great,” Heidi said. He wanted to talk with me about a conversation we had started during one one of the workshops. Later I watched him connect with one person after the other never losing the smile or the sparkle in his eyes. He reminded me of Tinker Bell dropping fairy dust wherever he went.
I felt like I was witnessing a holy moment for this young man. It was his wedding, his baptism, his meal after a day of Ramadan fasting, his bar mitzvah and his birthday all rolled into one. Only Peter would be able to tell you the reason for his joy. I just felt privileged to have been there to watch.