Below are the words of Shannon, one of our spring interns spending the season with us. Shannon had attended MOVE prior to interning with us, and this past weekend she got the chance to help out a bit behind the scenes. While there, she connected with an attendee named Jenny who touched her heart, and we want to share her experience with all of you. Enjoy!
This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the MOVE Community Conference held in Cocoa Beach. Last April I attended a MOVE conference on my own in that same quiet beach town, with the same breeze and overcast sky. I never imagined I would be in this place again, one year later, with renewed encouragement and thoughts of hope.
As I stood in the red and gold conference room early Friday morning, MOVE attendees slowly arrived and filed in. Young and old; seeking information about the topics TWLOHA addresses and wanting to fill a need. Some were weary with tired eyes from long rainy drives, and others wide-awake, smiling, with thankful handshakes. I saw a beautiful lady approaching in a bright blue sweater that matched her hopeful eyes, her right hand met mine and she spoke, “Hi, I’m Jenny.” When I learned that we both come from sunny Southern California I felt comforted in meeting a kindred spirit on the right coast. When I asked her what it was that had brought her to this Cocoa Beach hotel, thousands of miles from home, I had no idea that her answer would shake the Southern ground we stood on.
“My daughter committed suicide. Five months ago. I couldn’t wait for MOVE to come to California; I had to be here now.”
We instantly embraced in a hug as I told her I was sorry and I was thankful she was here. In that moment, when words seemed so insignificant, I felt the overwhelming beauty in her hope. It was the kind of hope formed out of a painful place, and the kind that’s made even more powerful when we get to share it with others. Through my ensuing conversations with Jenny over the next two days, I got a glimpse into the beautiful life of her daughter, Grayson. I felt the weight of her hard and promising words, and I was thankful for the hospitality she had extended to me by trusting me with her story. Jenny came to MOVE to take information back to her community, and yet something beautiful inside, despite her brokenness, brought strength to Florida that this little Californian will never forget.
Thank you to everyone who played a part in MOVE this weekend, for both your willingness to learn and for the words you shared. Thank you for being a part of something bigger that we like to think is only made possible because of people like you. Sometimes our greatest fear and greatest joy is being known and knowing others. I hope we are all able to carry that fear and joy with us into our own communities as we continue to write our stories.
Spring 2010 Intern