Saturday, June 23, 2012

It's His Story

 The autograph conga line where nearly everyone signed nearly everyone's shirts. Ben chose to wear his back pack to keep his shirt pristine. He gathered names and email addresses in a notebook.
 More autographing takes place in the shade of the dining commons. In the background is the stone building where Ben slept (not air-conditioned and containing the kitchen which was womanned by the amazing Martha Swick who planned and prepared vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and traditional meals for a couple dozen people three times a day). The same building housed the boys for the week. The big excitement was the seven false fire alarms in one night -- not too much sleep that night. 
Here's the cast and crew of GLADE 2012. Note Ben front and center.

I wasn't there, so I can't tell you what it really meant to Ben. But, my impression is that it was one of the most important weeks of his life. He developed trust and friendship with the entire group, learned a bunch, and had tons of fun. On Thursday night, Greg Swick, the director, called me and said that Ben had been deeply touched by a song performed by a visiting folk-singer. The lyrics told of a red-headed woman and a man in prison. It moved Ben to want to share his story with the group when they gathered on a bluff overlooking the lake at dusk. Ben spoke to Greg about it to clear it with him and Greg in turn called me to see if I was okay with Ben sharing his story with the group. I said, yes, it was Ben's story and if he felt safe sharing it, and wanted to, then he should. And he did. And he moved many people to tears and unleashed a bonding I'm sure he'll carry with him forever. Some moments you never forget. 


  1. Wow, brought tears to my eyes. I cannot begin to imagine the impact GLADE on everyone involved and the kind of trust Ben must have in his peers to share his story.

  2. The first thing I thought of when I woke up this morning is Ben and his GLADE experience. My heart is so full! Thanks so much for sharing this. Love, Your sis

  3. Thanks for sharing, Melody. Ben is a remarkable young man! It was an honor to touch his life. I hope that the GLADE experience will help him to fully discover his uniqueness and benevolence so that he may live to share it with the world. People who rise above extreme adversity are the strongest and most loving people I know. The GLADE staff knows this well, as some are among our ranks.
    I feel compelled to share my signature file, as I try to live by it. Perhaps Ben will, too.
    "I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright." ~Henry David Thoreau