I’ve had a little over a week to rest and reflect on my experiences at camp. Yesterday was my first day back at my rather hectic restaurant job, and during my tiring shift of pouring coffee and clearing plates, I had Ultimate Peace buzzing in my head. I was walking around the restaurant in the morning feeling very confused. I thought to myself, “Why has no one offered me a high five?? Are they crazy? Not one person shook their hands at me when I brought them water… Everyone had their, dare I say it… phones out? At a meal?!” I was in shock. No, really. In all sincerity, I didn’t understand the environment that I was in. As I brought coffee and water to customers, I greeted them with a smile and a “good morning!” I was almost always ignored. Despite serving an entirely full restaurant for over seven hours, I think I could count on one hand the number of times someone’s eyes met mine.
The world I returned to a little over a week ago is staggeringly different from my world at camp. Being home, and attempting to adjust back to my “normal” life has helped me realize just how different Ultimate Peace really is.
It’s not necessarily normal to greet a stranger with a smile and a high five. It’s not normal to demand that someone shake their booty in the middle of their meal. It’s not normal to eat as much bread and peanut butter as I know was eaten during that week. It’s not normal for a young Jewish girl to cheer her heart out beside a young Arab girl. It’s not normal for strangers to become family in less than a week. And yet all of these wonderful things are considered normal within the community of Ultimate Peace.
There are countless words that I could use to describe the power and impact of the environment that Ultimate Peace creates. Positivity, inclusivity, connection, unity, harmony, compassion, energy, love… But none of them come close to conveying what Ultimate Peace is. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to bring Ultimate Peace to the world with my words. But I think that I can with my actions. It’s difficult a lot of the time to think of the distance between me and camp, both in location and in time. But I know in my heart that Ultimate Peace has changed who I am. It’s why I felt so frustrated by the lack of connection in that busy restaurant. I don’t want this kind of normal. Ultimate Peace “normal” is what the world needs. It’s a difficult job, but I think that little by little, Ultimate Peace is creating a better world. For now, all I can hope to do is carry the overwhelming love and energy that I have been given by Ultimate Peace, and send it out into the rest of the world. I know that it will be difficult. But a wise man once said, “the things in our life that challenge us are the things that are worth it.” So, I’ll do my best to keep the UP party going from the other side of the world.
Ultimate Peace: thank you, shukran, todah.