Kay & I both graduated from the American School In Japan (though we were not there at the same time), and had never gone to any high school reunions. But last night we went to the Stateside ASIJ Centennial Celebration held in San Francisco.
Now I had been thinking, “I probably won’t know that many people there; there could be people from my class whom I never really hung out with. Besides, it’s been 23 years or more since I’ve seen any of them. We all have our lives, we’ve spent more time apart then we ever did together. What kind of connection could possibly still be there?”
…And then, I saw faces. I heard names. It took awhile for my slow brain to make connections with some, but the connections came, and the past came rushing back. It was pretty emotional; many people whom I haven’t thought of in years, I couldn’t help but hug — and hug hard.
After my long week, I thought I would expire before the party was through. Instead, I spend the entire time on my feet, talking, hugging, laughing, catching up, sharing old stories. I didn’t eat much; I didn’t care. What a blast, what an incredible rush.
And that, gentle reader, is the power of shared experience. So if you want to build relational communities, don’t just sit around and have meetings; you’ve got to experience life together.