Today I presented a talk to residents of an energetic and intellectually active retirement village near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. One of the top ten most influential teachers in my life, Peggy Givens, lives there now and invited me. Mrs. Givens was my eighth grade English teacher and when she moved on to be the junior/senior high school Librarian, I worked for her as a student helper.
Between 30 and 40 people, both men and women, gathered to hear the talk as part of their weekly Coffee Klatch series. Graciously welcoming as I arrived, a dozen came to tell me they knew my grandfather, my grandma, my dad or my mom.... usually starting the conversation with "You remind me of ___".
During the hour long presentation, the audience's mention of these ancestors who had such profound impact on my life somehow brought their presence into the room. It was as if those long dead, my grandparents and dad, were in the room, a life force still living. Through stories, phrases, specific words and certainly as evidence in my adventurous life like theirs, they live on. It's an inheritance more powerful than DNA. It's inheritance, or in my case, inHERitance.
The group listened, fully engaged, laughing when I hoped they would and asking excellent questions until we ended punctually at 10. Nearly a third of the group came up to thank me, to take pictures together, to inquire about the book or to tell me they connected with some of the stories. Their hugs and smiles conjured memories back fifty years.
Saturated with gratitude, every sense pulsed with the beat of my heart. Past was fully present. While the talk inspired them to reconnect to memories of their lives, travel and family it was clear that our shared memory made today... also connected us to each other.
These profound connections and the sober awareness while it's happening is just like the owners I've met through my search for PAX truth. Today, Finding PAX was a presentation. By the end of the year, it will be a book.