An Experience of Enlightenment

By: Marcus Hughes

December 1, 2011

Yesterday I experienced my first White House Challenge Roundtable. Before the event, I was solely curious; I wanted to see what this great experience I had heard about actually was. By the end I was touched more than I ever would have guessed I could be by sitting and talking to a group of people situated in many little circles, but no, it was much more than that. It was an experience of enlightenment.

To have so many intelligent minds working together, sharing ideas, sharing past experiences and their feelings was incredible. We started the session off with The Daily Examen conducted by Rev. Bryant M Oskvig. A big surprise this was for me, since The Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us, usually said by priest of the Jesuit order. The fact that our own Protestant Minister was performing it, quite amazingly to say the least, gave great evidence of the diversity of ideas present in the room.

In our small groups we discussed topics such as gratitude, what it means to be here, and what we are grateful for. Coming from a Jesuit high school named Saint Xavier in Cincinnati, Ohio, I have experienced situations of reflection often, and many times we have discussed topics as these, but something was special about this time. The diversity here was insane. So many people, from all types of backgrounds and experiences were in the room. To hear different people explain the various situations they had been through, overcome, conquered, and then to hear them explain how grateful they were that they had gone through them was amazing to me, as if living alone was enough to be overwhelmed with thankfulness and praise to the higher being who granted it to you. It definitely was an eye opener ; how blessed I am to have the opportunities I do, to have come from the places I have been all the way to Georgetown University, the embodiment of diversity.
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