At the end of August, I did a rare thing: I boarded a plane and flew across the country, sans kids, to the glory of an in-person meet-up of immense Catholic proportions. It was the Catholic Marketing Network trade show AND the Catholic Writers Conference Live AND Catholic New Media Conference.
I thought I would show up for the two days I was scheduled to be there, sign a few books at my publishers’ booths, meet some amazing people, reconnect with dear friends, and, best of all, listen to lots of talks.
I signed books. I met amazing people. I reconnected with dear friends.
But I did not listen to any talks. Not a single one.*
Once I got past feeling guilty about fact that I spent more time socializing than learning, I realized something critical: I need that face-to-face connecting more than I need the talks.
What’s important to me at events like this, I realized, is the quality time–whether minutes or hours–I spend with the real people who are the engine behind Catholic New Media and the force behind the New Evangelization.
I spent quite some time talking. When I got home, my voice was scratchy for two days and it had nothing to do with the talks I gave.
Instead of staying in the hotel, I spent quality time with Julie Davis, who inspired me to start blogging, and her husband at their house, with their dogs at my feet. Those two nights were worth the price of the plane ticket, let me tell you.
I was blessed by one of my priestly inspirations, Fr. Jay Finelli of iPadre, I had coffee and a long heart-to-heart with one of my dearest friends, Maria Johnson. I sat next to one of my personal heroes, Lisa Hendey, for over an hour at our joint book signing.
The list goes on. And on. AND ON.
I could name drop and almost brag. But that’s not the point.
These opportunities for face-to-face interactions are what keeps me going and inspires me to continue in what’s often a thankless and challenging pursuit. Getting together, having face time IN PERSON, is a critical part of the New Evangelization. Our work on the digital continent is only as good as our ability to be really present to those around us.
*Lucky for me, I’m getting the Catholic New Media Conference talks via the Virtual Ticket.
Copyright © 2012, Sarah Reinhard