There are moments, snapshots if you will pardon the cliche, where life stills and you see exactly what you were meant to see. You sit and barely breathe and take in the reality and wonder just how you were so fortunate.
Right now, was the rain splatters on the roof, as I sit comfortably at my computer, I find myself unable -- again -- to really describe what is, in essence, a week a econ camp. A week where I hand over exactly half of my vacation days and a good bit of money to volunteer as a company advisor. It is, I admit, a job that makes little sense to me at times. The surrender of time and money earn me the opportunity to sit through speeches that I've just about memorized, exhaustion, and a huge workload waiting for me upon my return to reality. I get the chance to work with teenagers who may or may not want to hear what I have to say. I set my wake-up calls for 7 a.m., roll into the college at 7:45, and do not stop for the next ten hours or so.
Only 51 weeks until I get to go back.
When I go back, I'll walk into the hospitality suite and see the people I've grown to know and love. We'll talk about out children and, in some cases, grandchildren. We'll update each other on jobs and life in general. It will be as if we'd never left.
When I go back, we'll find new ways to make each other laugh. This year we passed around brown lunch bags, preparing to hyperventilate when Jim began his training on Saturday. We hazed new-to-week-III'ers John and Jeremy by putting them in the center of the Market Game and "forgetting" to mention the rush of 200 students (though we did take their eyeglasses and name tags off to avoid injury). Scott managed to keep his composure during his Monday presentation, despite most of us standing in the back of the auditorium imitating elevator doors with our hands (long story). Deb and I discovered new ways to answer the phone in our hotel room (but that's all I'm saying there).
When I go back, we'll sit in the Bell Foyer at some point and listen to Guido play the piano, and I'll look around at the people and marvel at it all. Twenty-four people who help each other because they are there for the kids and not the glory of a computer-generated certificate come Friday night. Several of us have remarked on the camaraderie of our group, on the "magic" that seems to happen when we gather. There are neither cliques nor squabbles, there's never a moment of cruelty for the sake of a cheap laugh, and competition between the us is non-existent. These are good people that I volunteer with, I tell my family.
That's the magic, by the way. The way that everyone gives without taking.