The guests were not monarchs from other nations, nor lords and ladies with famous names. Media does not value or know these individuals. Many did not even value themselves. Somewhere along life's journey they had lost some if not all vision for pursuing dreams, and it was our job and our joy to speak to the treasure within them, to awaken them to hope again by reminding them of what they may have forgotten about who they are. We wanted to do this not through words, but by treating them with dignity, honor, and grace, and giving them a day to remember.
Some walked through the doors pushing all their worldly goods in little rolling basket-carts. Another left his dog tied to the bushes outside, guarding bike and backpack while big feathery snowflakes drifted down. But in spite of these and other such situations, many wished me "Merry Christmas" as they passed by, and their smiles were heartfelt. I was so impressed. One couple at my table cheerily announced they lived in a tent. "What do you do when it snows like this?" I asked, to which they replied as if they had the best set-up ever: "We have a heater!"
From the raucous little boys in the table behind mine to the baby dressed in Christmas best for her picture with Santa, it was the children that impressed me the most, though. I marveled at the way they immersed themselves in the wonder of the moment, and had not yet forgotten their greatness. One little boy stood up to show me how tall he was and let me feel his muscles. "I'm Daddy's strong boy," he said with a toothless grin. His sister confided that she is her daddy's brave girl, and undertook to teach me her family members' names. One child wanted to be a singer, another a writer, and as they confided this, the light of a thousand possible horizons shone in their eyes.