This was a much needed trip for me on about 500 different levels. Some of those reasons were deeply personal and I am not yet ready to share those openly with whoever decides to click and read this post. But there are some that I just had to share, if for no other reason than my heart and mind need to release these experiences into the written word so that perhaps I will one day sleep again.
Friday I attended the Military Spouse of the Year awards luncheon, sponsored by Armed Forces Insurance, where the incredible Corie Weathers was named Military Spouse of the Year. Both events were powerful in their own right. But as I sit here today, I am overwhelmed by the small moments and seemingly insignificant events of the past few days. Things that, again, (like that first introduction to the MSOY family) will have a profound and deep impact on my life.
The small moments. The quiet moments.
Both of the events I attended took a lot of work. Teams of talented individuals spent countless hours making sure they all went off without a hitch, generous sponsors spent a great deal of money, and so many people flew in from all over the country to be a part of them. I am excited to share with you all the details of those moments at a later date. Both events were big, powerful moments. They harnessed the power of great people, all together in one room, one event… incredible experiences for the folks lucky enough to attend.
But the quiet moments.
The experience of finally meeting individuals who have known each other for years due to the advancement of technology. People who I have grown to cherish, respect and love from our online and telephone interactions alone. Being able to reach out and touch them, sit across a table from them, simply be in the same room.
Sitting in a hotel bar with a small group of leaders in the military spouse community and having deep, meaningful conversation about the issues that many are afraid to speak about in a larger crowd.
Connecting with people you may never have interacted with before, but know will now be in your life forever because of that one conversation over a few beers. Picking up a microphone and singing karaoke with a new friend.
Having a conversation with someone in person who you have only ever spoken to through a Facebook messenger program, and now understanding all those words typed just a bit better because you have now looked into their eyes.
Gaining understanding about life events that have affected you profoundly by the genuine embrace and conversations face-to-face about those life events. Words finally spoken in person because you knew they needed to be heard in that manner.
Sitting in my hotel room enjoying a burger with my Editor-in-Chief, Katie, who I had never had the privilege of hugging until yesterday, and feeling like we have done that a million times before.
Listening to my AMSC singing sister, Deidra Stubbs, deliver the National Anthem at the luncheon, knowing the power of her voice, and being struck by the gentle and respectful delivery she chose for the event.
Sitting next to a political leader in Washington, and sharing with her one of the biggest fears and challenges I have as a military spouse… that I have never written about or shared publicly.
Silently (maybe not so silently) sobbing next to other leaders from our community as we listened to Taps being played at the Marine Barracks on 8th & I.
Watching my dearest friend, Kate Dolack, at the helm of an awards program that I believe is profoundly changing our community (and our country) for the better… and being overwhelmed with pride over her poise, eloquence and heart.
The quiet moments.
You see, greatness is not always achieved in those grand events and big moments. Sure those things are amazing and I am always in awe of the incredible individuals in our community who are doing BIG things every single day. But the things that have the most lasting and meaningful impact on those around us are not always the things with the biggest spotlight. I truly believe that.
Every single one of has the ability to make a difference… in those every day, quiet moments. In the individual conversations and interactions we have with other human beings. The moments that may not be coming from the person in charge, the person who has achieved the most, or the person who is at the podium. When we take the time to listen, to share, to make a small gesture that will mean the world to the person receiving… or in many cases to the person giving… we are making an investment in each other, and changing lives.
Don’t ever dismiss the impact you are having on the world if you are not the one doing the BIG things. Life is a compilation of a million different small, quiet moments. Individuals. Conversations. Interactions. Embraces.
And those moments have a great deal of power. Power to change hearts and minds, to connect and make a profound impact.
I am so grateful for those quiet moments today.
The loudest voice is not always the most meaningful voice in the room…
Many Kind Regards,