(Photo: Giacomo Bellavista)

Sparks of the Meeting

Giacomo volunteered at the Meeting as a photographer. Here, in pictures and words, he recounts his days in Rimini
Giacomo Bellavista

For years I have volunteered at the Meeting as a photographer, both during the weeks leading up to it and during the week in which it takes place. It is not easy to describe what the Meeting is for me. The event unleashes a whirlwind of emotions and it always takes a while to understand what happened during the blender that is that week.

One thing in particular was clear right from the start: from the day one edition ends, I start thinking how to prepare the next one, what to improve. Each year the event functions like a rubber band that throws me back at everything that life throws at me in the following months. A sort of school where I learn that failures are not a final judgement with no way out - of course I get angry when things do not go my way - but what emerges during the Meeting is that I am well liked and this, every year, allows me to breathe.

The night before I could not fall asleep, I kept racking my brain over a thousand thoughts, whether I had prepared everything for the next day, what was missing, what to tell the team the next day. Everything depended on me, and in my head I had made a perfect film of how the week would go. Meanwhile, however, sleep drifted away and my anxiety increased. Around three o'clock, while I was still thinking, my daughter came into the big bed, sad because she could not fall asleep. As soon as she got under the sheets, between me and my wife, she started to sleep. There my whole castle collapsed.

I realised that all my plans, the films I had made, the predictions of how things would turn out, everything was infinitely smaller in the face of the desire for an embrace that my daughter is made of, that I am made of. And this is the only reason why I return to the Meeting every year.
An embrace that I have already experienced in life, in Rimini or in other situations: the certainty of an underlying good that takes hold of me every time through faces, friends, relationships that arise and that show me that I am loved, not for what I do but for the simple fact of being there.

The week got off to a very bad start at work this year – let’s say that the technology decided to abandon us in all respects – and this put us to the test. All week I was afraid that my young people would get fed up, that they would experience it badly and that discontent would eventually win out, as if – once again – everything depended on me. Instead, my friends gave even more, relationships grew, and we got to the end serenely. The real miracle was not this. But the commitment with which they all worked. I used to watch them work and think that either they were all crazy, given how many problems there were, or they too were certain of a good that goes beyond the result. The same good that drives my daughter to come to dad and mum's bed. A certainty of good that the Meeting is a sign of through all those who pass through it, so every year I get busy and go back to it.