It’s day two of retreat.
I’m sitting in the male dorm as our teens prepare for sleep. We’re brushing our teeth, using the bathroom, reading, and writing in journals.
There’s a deep sense of peace.
In this same lounge an hour ago, my small group met. We posed the question, “What do you daydream about?” One shared that her dream is that an iBme retreat could last all summer. Another expressed the wish that it would last a lifetime. Heads nodded around the room.
So many of these teens have only known each other twenty-four hours. Already the depth of vulnerability and connection is beyond words. So is the care, and the respect, and the love.
What would the world be like if everyone lived in this way?
“I love you’s” are being exchanged. And wonderful hugs. We asked our small group, “What should we be called?” It took about five seconds to decide on The Love Squad.
What happens when humans really get to know each other? Does everything fall apart? That’s the message we sometimes get.
It’s not true. When we come together in trust, in love, in openness, in kindness, we are a model for a new world.
Listen to these teens. They are opening their hearts. They give each other and us hope in a sometimes broken world. If you were here with me, you would know. Hope is alive. Love is here.
About the writer: Barnaby Willett is the Director of Program Development at Peace in Schools, a nonprofit bringing for-credit mindfulness classes to high schools. He teaches their Mindful Studies class at Cleveland High in Portland, OR. Barnaby has practiced mindfulness since 1994. He tells everyone that iBme retreats are the best weeks of his life.