Saturday was one of those rare experiences where you witness a vision reality.
Something that existed purely by way of imagination, aspiration, and hopeful preparation took physical shape resulting in a day I’ll always remember.
It started to get real when I picked up the t-shirts. Brian Aaby had connected me with a local screen printer who not only did a great job but passed along a beautiful price. When Kevin popped the lid on a massive box of antique cherry red t-shirts emblazoned with a white “Open Seattle” logo– I was taken aback. It was like that box pinched me and woke me up. THIS IS HAPPENING!
The Friday night speakers dinner was next. 30 speakers & their significant others enjoyed a meal together. Again, it was one of those things that was just on the calendar… it was a thing I knew would be cool but had no idea how fun it would be. Though most of us had never met face-to-face, everyone had a great time getting to know one another. There were lots of hugs and laughter mixed with our spaghetti and cheesecake. Perhaps the quality of the night was best exhibited in the volume of the group. It was so loud in there!
After a sleepless night I got up before dawn to head over to Seattle Pacific University. I was the first car in the lot. The campus was silent as I unloaded my rental car and schlepped boxes of stuff into Upper Gwinn.
Then it all kind of started to go in fast-forward. Sponsors started showing up to set up their booths. No sooner did I get stuff unpacked before the early birds started to arrive. And seemingly 15 seconds later it was 8:57.
I grabbed Mark Moder… “Um, can you help me? I need someone to do a little welcome and mixer.”
Literally, I needed that 2 minutes to shift my brain. The build up had been so long but the morning so short. I needed to capture the moment, gather my thoughts, and say this:
It’s because of you. We do this thing for you. The world needs you. And we need you to not just love Jesus and love kids. Today is an expression of the collective we. When we gather, we share what is working and our ideas… we begin to welcome in a new, bigger collective we of adults who minister to adolescents.
(Or something like that.)
I’ll share more about the day later. But it was a great day. It’s one thing to dream dreams. But it’s another thing to see your dreams become a reality. And what was really fun for me is that it wasn’t a celebration of a kooky idea that I somehow snookered 125 people to being a part of. It was a celebration of something that we can all stack hands on, own, and say… “That thing belongs to us, the collective we.”