Masters Class Session Class Reflection by Eric Halverson, Class of 2016, Masters 2019 – Missoula
Driving across Montana from east to west is nothing new. After all, I’m a Billings boy living in Missoula, but this route was different. My classmate Hatton and I were Lewistown bound. “I know how to get to Great Falls,” she said, “but you’ll have to help me a bit with the navigation from there.”
In typical Leadership Montana fashion, our conversation along the way was expansive and lovely. We both listened to each other, so deeply, in fact, that I suddenly found myself wondering why we were headed straight south in a beautiful canyon. “Hatton,” I said embarrassingly, “we need to turn around.” Of course, we were heading for Helena by way of Cascade.
After my slip-up and an extra hour on the road, we arrived in Lewistown. “We’re so close to Billings!” I noted as we passed Eddy’s Corner – familiarity at the end of an unfamiliar path.
The session that ensued was remarkable. The lessons of Pat Hughes, as my classmate Chuck would often say, “made my head hurt” in the best of ways. Courage is hard, collaboration is hard, and courageous collaboration is harder still. Nonetheless, I find tremendous peace in knowing that the lessons of Gracious Space and Leadership Montana have given me a framework with which I can begin to grasp these concepts. Further, I feel tremendous gratitude for the opportunity to work through these challenges under the guidance of Pat Hughes and alongside my fellow Leadership Montana alum.
Despite all the head-hurting hard work, I always leave Leadership Montana with a full heart. Connections with my classmates, it seems, always rise to the top.
Most of my classmates and I have only spent a total of 3 days together prior to arriving in Lewistown, but a stranger peeking into the Calvert Hotel lounge on Wednesday night or the Mint Restaurant on Thursday could only conclude that we were all fast friends. “Is that cribbage?” a classmate asked as I pulled out my board. “Dang right! Lookin’ to get schooled?” We were bantering like old buddies despite such brief time spent together. The path to this friendship, to this connection, was far from the typical way I’ve built connections before, yet it was a profound connection nonetheless.
Familiarity at the end of an unfamiliar path indeed.