Jars of Clay
As I attend these conferences, a single phrase keeps coming to mind. That phrase is "Jars of Clay." For those that did not grow up in a home where the Bible was part of your literature, I'll clarify the context of that phrase:
"We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." 2 Cor 4:7
In this context, here's what this thought tends to mean.
The entire time one is at one of these conferences, one is surrounded by brilliant men and women who have contributed many thousands of hours of their time to produce ideas that have put billions of dollars into the economy. Geniuses, really.
But as I look around, I am struck by the frailty and mortality of these geniuses. They are jars of clay, which will one day be broken. Last year, this was brought to mind by Guido being called away for a family medical emergency. This year, ironically, it was brought to mind by a picture titled "Schwern in 30 years." Several years ago, a well-known and highly respected member of the Perl community was involved in a terrible car accident, making many of us think about our priorities.
We are enormously fortunate to live in a time when we are surrounded by these folks. The things that they have accomplished have, simply stated, made the world a better place. But they are jars of clay. It is rather humbling.
OK, enough being depressing.
In that same vein, of course, there are new people entering the community all the time that are just as brilliant, and our future depends on how the old treat the young.