I dropped my bags and surveyed the suite. After a brief hesitation, I sprinted towards the far end of my hotel room with the huge window showcasing the Texas night sky. I could tell you I stood there, quietly, and wished on a star or reflected on my life of late. That, however, would be absolutely false. Please. I had to check out the baaaathroom! And of course it was everything a swanky hotel bathroom should be. I decided I would bathe as much as possible during the weekend and make use of each and every plush towel on the shelves.
My room had not been ready when I arrived for check- in earlier in the day, and the hotel management wanted to ‘extended their apologies’ by upgrading me to an executive suite. I was not upset at the situation or the front desk, so it was a fun surprise for me. (Perhaps they sensed my hot pink suitcase was packed with power suits and I had urgent and big business to attend to. I would, in fact, need an executive suite to successfully conduct my important matters: making full use of BOTH huge flat screen HD TVs for “my shows”.)
I began to accept my “complimentary hotel upgrade” when I cozied up in the luxury bedding. I scrolled through my Twitter feed, reading the latest tweets from fellow conference attendees and speakers. Everyone was excited for kick off in the morning. (Twitter remains my favorite social media site. I highly recommend it. Twitter does not need my ‘plug’—this is merely the opinion of a social media addict, uh connoisseur. It’s useful, effective, and fun.) I noticed a tweet from a user and realized I had just met her briefly in the lobby. Her name was Carrie. I clicked over to her profile, and as the Internet goes, began to surf. I read a couple of her articles that led me to a talk she had done on the subject of happiness. It was beautiful, and though our journeys have been different, her encouragement and lessons were universal. I hoped our paths would cross again during the conference so I could tell her.
I dramatically pulled back the heavy drapes and shades in an effort to welcome the morning. It was still pitch black outside, so I made use of my in room coffee maker. Before long, the conference was in full swing! It was wildly wonderful. The energy seemed to only grow during the weekend as writers were inspired through the speakers, workshops, and panel discussions. I’ve always made a habit of trying to surround myself with folks smarter than myself. They teach me so much, and I think I secretly believe some of their intelligence will magically float from their brain to mine. And really, I think it kind of works that way in more than just intelligence. The type of people you surround yourself can dictate how you will live, think, and operate eventually. I knew I was in a space with smart and fiercely talented folks so I did my best to soak it all in.
(In fact, I have gained enough material to write on for a long while. So, come back by, I have so much more to tell.)
I surveyed my ‘business lady’ suite one final time before check out(a woman never wants to forget her flat iron). I took a deep breath and turned my gaze toward to the big window. No, false again. I was actually trying to find the brand name tag on the super soft duvet. It was heaven and I wanted to take it with me. Knowing the hotel and Delta airlines would frown upon it, I checked in at the Austin airport sans luxurious duvet. Walking through the concourse and reflecting on my weekend(yes, I was actually reflecting here. I remember because I was interrupted by the intoxicating smell of Auntie Anne’s pretzels), I ran into Carrie. An unexpected #tweetmeet! We both had a little time before our planes boarded, so we grabbed a high top in the nearest bar. Carrie shared with me more of her journey, both in career and life. We connected as women, writers, and joy seekers. (I was hoping that magic brain transfer of intelligence was happening because this chick is smart.) The conference was over but the connecting and learning was not. And that is beyond any tools to writing that we may learn. Telling our story on the page is not much different than being willing to connect and share our stories with another human being. At a high top table in an airport bar. Because that is where the most luxurious parts of life happen anyway, ya know? It is in our relationships with others-- our connection to other people, individuals, traveling along with us. I can’t help but think we should maybe spend less time staring out our own windows and reflecting just inside ourselves and more time looking into another person’s eyes and truly listen as they tell their story-the one God is telling in them. If we lean in a little closer to that notion, we may find our best lessons and growth opportunities that God gives us, are when we receive the story of another person’s heart and weave it into our own.
To weave a little more of my friend Carrie’s story into yours, you can find her as a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Click on over with this link to read on of my favorites, “I'm a Recovering Burnout.”