As we walked towards the venue you could tell who was going the same way because they were dressed appropriately. As you caught the eye of total strangers, you looked each other up and down and smiled in recognition. You never met before but you already had something in common, you were already part of the family. You took your seat and the room buzzed in anticipation.
The music started and the first song was sung. You knew all the words and sang along with gusto, as did your neighbours. As you sang and swayed you felt embraced by the warmth of a group of people coming together around something they love.
Words were spoken and you joined in, shouting back, together making an event that belongs not just to the people in that room, but to similar people in similar rooms all around the world. You can go anywhere in the world and find an event like this, with people like this, and you can join in and feel welcomed and included.
The story unfolded, a story so familiar that there were no surprises – in fact so familiar that we all know most of the words off by heart – that’s what unifies us, brings us together. And the familiarity of the story doesn’t make it stale – the magic is in retelling it to one another and knowing that it means something to all of us.
We learn and relearn that it’s important to love one another; to be honest about who we are; that no matter who or what we are, there is a guiding star.
The event reached its high point, we stood together, and as the music prompted us we moved as one people, again drawn together by something we know well and love to do. As our eyes met we knew that we were sharing something special. As we did this, we remembered all the other times we did it, the people we did it with, the things it has meant at different times in our lives. And we took a jump to the left…