I used to over-pack for conferences. Like, crazy over-pack: one professional and one casual set of clothes for each day, plus at least one entire extra set of clothes "just in case." Multiple shoes, multiple belts...you name it. But time, a reshifting of priorities, and having a toddler have taught me to pack light and pack well.
Case in point: I took three pairs of socks to Catalyst this year. Just three. For a five day trip. I have learned the art and majesty of recycling my clothes. But that's fine. I only needed three pairs of socks. Because the individuals I saw in person helped to shore me up and support me in so many ways.
I don't think I have any socks larger than Moe, who is larger than life. But for all the online bluster and joviality he brings, the man is a lover, not a fighter. All the time we were together, he was hugging. High-fiving. Fist-bumping. He wants you to know you matter, you are heard, and you are important to him.
I think I have socks that weigh more than Tracee. Seriously - she redefines petite, but in a ridiculously cute yet very professional way. And she has a heart that has such courage, such faith, and such power that it inspires me. And challenges me. And I very much regret not saying that to her face.
I don't think I have socks in better shape than Scott. Although our personal interactions have been too few and too short, I am in awe of and humbled by this man who has it all together. No loose stitching. No holes. And that he has chosen to interact with me gives me an incredible sense of self-worth. And hope. And having him as a friend (if I may be so bold) challenges me - in a good way - to be a better husband and father.
I don't think I own* any socks more beautiful than Alece. Like me, she has socks she does not want to wear. They are socks that the world would say are unclean, beyond repair, and have no worth. But she has taught me to see the beauty in the brokenness of my own socks, to honor the journey in which I wore them, and to be courageous. And that they are indeed of infinite worth.
* = Ashley and Kai ARE more beautiful than you, Alece. I just don't own them. They're my favorite socks to have and to wear 24/7.
I know I don't have any socks as fun as Amanda. But just like a pair of goofy, fun socks - she has warmth. Depth. And a complexity and intelligence that makes her fun-sock self that much more valuable to have in the drawer. Meeting her was like meeting family.
I don't think I have any hiking socks as good as Jamie. I love to hike, and if there was anyone that I wanted to just blow off the conference with to spend time talking, walking around with and drinking deep of life, it was Jamie and her husband Steve. I mean, Jamie saw me. SAW me and came to intentionally speak to me. ME. She knew my name, and knew me. Knew about me. Sometimes we forget that hiking socks are designed for longevity and endurance, and these two are people that I would love to have opportunities to just be a big freaking goofballs with, because I have a feeling the goofy times would be intertwined with some amazingly meaningful times as well.
How beautiful are your feet, my friends.
Thank you for being in my drawer.