As I looked down at that small artefact, that thumb-sized chunk of history, my head began to spin. Here was the world shrunk to Lilliputian dimensions. This trinket gave me a physical connection to a great event, a hopeful and world-changing event, an event that had taken place many miles from my small city in the South Pacific. This object folded space, made the world, for a moment at least, dimensionless.
Ours is a history defined by wars and walls, barriers and brutality. These things may not define us, but they have shaped us for thousands of years. If we have learned nothing from history they will continue to shape us until we do.
Perhaps my colleague’s small gift is not unlike the gift a writer offers his reader. A story draws us close to things that are far away; it reminds us of our interconnectedness; it reminds us of the value and beauty of freedom, and of peace.