She prayed over Come Alive.
Right there, in the middle of a conference, we walked into another room and she held my hands and prayed.
It's not an easy book to read, and I think she knew that - knew it before even reading it. And so pulling me aside, she whispered protection and preparation and blessing over my words.
And I was undone.
When I think of Story, this is what I will remember. I will remember our voices halted with emotion and our eyes brimming with tears. I will remember the scratching of words on the table from previous sessions - the broken and restored etched into a paper tablecloth with red crayon. I will remember the way my heart leaned toward hers when we bent low and approached the Throne.
The speakers were good. They were. So many of them moved me to the point of tears and there were many times on Friday where I felt compelled to rush into the bathroom, hide in a stall, and just weep.
But I think a majority of that feeling of overwhelming gratitude stemmed from the people. Stolen moments.
Walking the streets and industrial sections of Chicago with Bethany and Matt and Emily, laughing at the differences between Goose Egg and well...Goose Egg Brewery.
Seeing the joy on Sonny's face after tasting a good beer.
Phoenix's picture, welcoming us into her home and the drives through the city with Lisa and Tammy and Shane.
Sitting next to Leanne as she discovered Cage the Elephant.
Meeting Kristen and Addie and Jen and within seconds taking a picture with them like we were all old friends, running into each other at a family reunion.
Talking adoption with Lore and feeling the unmistakable kindred spirit of one who knows.
Laughing with Ashley and Illeana about our missing friends and words we write in our journals and Barbara Manatee.
Spending time on a rooftop with Alece and Christy and Tracee - the Chicago skyline looming over us above the lights.
All of these moments - and so many more - filled me up and left me humbled. And in these moments I realized art doesn't happen with the people on the stage and us listening to them. Art happens when you get lost and when you feel the touch of a close friend and when you share laughter. Art happens when you connect over a song and when you look at someone and whisper, me too.
More than anything else, my heart felt held at Story. She was welcomed and prayed over and loved. This will be what I remember - this is what will bring her to create.