Last weekend our family attended the 10th annual Harvest Gathering in Lake City, MI (  It was an incredibly impactful experience for me, and my family as well.  We camped amidst 3,000 people from around the country, gathering to celebrate good music and community.  80 bands from around the world entertained us every day, all day long.  Local artists were selling their goods, and the smell of real food filled the air.  Our kids were delightful.  They enjoyed the music, got up to dance when the spirit moved, were not phased by the barefoot hippies dancing in the fields or the eccentric styles of so many.  They just accepted it as normal.  They were able to sit in front of a Buddist monk chanting a prayer, shake hands with their favorite musicians, and meet new friends.  I heard Logan whisper to his sister the most gentle and compassionate words he’s ever uttered to her.  It must have been something in the air.

One of the things I was most moved by was the sense of community.  I have never been amongst so many people, and had a consistent vibe of “everyone is accepted no matter what.”  I felt totally comfortable being me.  It was so warm, so nurturing, so accepting.  I wish the world was more like this.  A place where people were accepted, and they KNEW it it was so evident.  The fulfillment that comes from such an experience is amazing.

I can help to create that culture, one where no matter what, people are accepted for who they are, not who they “should be.”  I have my opinion, but it is mine.  I have my morals, and my value, but they are mine.  Isn’t it my calling to love my neighbor?  To minister to the poor, those who are unable to afford services, who because of insane chaos in their lives are unable to leave their home.  It is my job to help create the atmosphere I experienced at the Harvest Gathering in my “real world.”  I’m so thankful my parents nurtured me to be open-minded, to think of people outside of my little circle, to be compassionate.

I cannot wait for next year.  In the meantime, I’m trying to live life congruently, and inter-connectedly.


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