This is not a regular story. CONA, with all of its quirks and procedures is not a regular camp. The Massachusetts delegation (and indeed all others) is not a regular group of people. So it follows that the story of the first devotional at the 2008 Conference on National Affairs is not a regular story.
This story began weeks before the opening ceremony; actually, it began months before that, at the Massachusetts Youth and Government conference, but let’s be brief. The powers-that-be in CONA assigned Massachusetts the first devotional. Massachusetts has not performed a devotional since 2005, so the delegation collectively cheered when their advisors told them the news.
It is important to note that at this point, the delegation was not a unit. They were still twenty students, many of them already tanned by early summer beach visits. This the first part of the story ends with twenty individual ideas and preferences.
The second part of the story takes place on a bus. Unlike other, farther off, delegations, Massachusetts flew to Charlotte and only had a three-hour bus ride to put up with. But this bus ride perpetuated a startling transformation in the delegation. As they worked on the devotional (breaking into four groups to write the four separate parts) their ideas, until now disconnected, fused together like the spirits of their owners. They were not done with the devotional, far from it in fact, but they were without a doubt closer than before.
We now move onto the third part of our story. This part takes place in the upper rooms of Heaton Hall. As this point the devotional was almost completed. Three of the four sections were planned and rehearsed. The final section; however, was in disarray. Tempers were high, eyelids were drooping, and bladders were full; it was during this high-tension point that the true humanity of the Massachusetts delegation revealed itself. It was not, of course, necessary for the others to stay behind. Many, in fact, did yield to their fatigue and a much needed rest; however, several remained with these depressed delegates until they were rolling again. The devotional was still not done, but the delegation- the people, were.
The final part was, of course, the devotional itself. Parts were unrehearsed, parts were rough, and parts had never been spoken aloud before. But there was something not quite regular about the situation. Everyone in the room, all six hundred of them, were in support of the Massachusetts delegation. Not a single soul wanted them to fail, and it was this simple and innocent fact that carried them through. It is, of course, a different thing to speak on about six hundred people, but it is not as hard when every one of them wants you to succeed. This success is the end of our story.
The moral of the story is that every person here is not regular. Everyone, of course, has immature moments, but the Massachusetts delegation saw firsthand that when a group of regular people get together, the result can be decidedly more than the sum of the parts; that is the moral of the story.