Sunday, October 20, 2013

When Something Wicked Blessed Me

Beth Moore spoke the day before.
I drove back to the hotel late  last night, wearing my new shirt from the MOPS Convention marketplace — it says "Blessed" in a pretty cursive font — thinking how very appropriate to have a visual reminder of how I felt. It's worth writing about even if just so I don't forget.

The day started off well enough—decent sleep, good breakfast, arriving on time to get a good seat at Jen Hatmaker's session at the MOPS Convention where I've been all weekend. But my headache set in before the music started and was raging by the time I slipped out to get to my booth ahead of her.
Jen Hatmaker speaks.

Yes, Jen Hatmaker was coming to the FaithVillage booth for a book signing. (Blessing!) The line had already begun forming before I arrived. Soon, the line stretched through the Marketplace floor, weaving down aisles and between other vendors. The moms were so patient and happy to see Jen, who signed books and took pictures with her contagious smile never wavering. We took book orders, with a MOPS volunteer (one of several who were rock stars helping us out!) taking cash and I handling the credit payments on Jen's iphone. She had one of those Square card readers...so cool.

Jen's smile never wavered.
Soon I was feeling lightheaded and queasy, at moments wondering if I needed to leave the booth and go find a dark corner (pretty sure there wasn't one to be found). At times squeezing the bridge of my nose (a sinus problem?) or maybe the sides of my head (so it would not explode), I must have given my discomfort away to the chattering moms waiting in line. One of them asked (sincerely and rhetorically, because she was just being kind) "Oh, your head hurts?" I asked if she had any tylenol, and she and about 3 others whipped out their painkillers right there. A blessing. I gratefully went for the migraine stuff.
My MOPS group came too.

About an hour or so later I wasn't wanting to faint anymore, but I did want to feel human again. I sent my teammate, David, for lunch. One of the volunteers gave me her crackers. And yet another mom in line saw me suffering —I don't have much of a poker face—and offered me Aleve without me even asking. She kind of pushed it on me, though I gratefully accepted. And another online mom friend who couldn't get down to our booth sent someone with water (she had no idea I'd need it so badly, but what a divine appointment!).

Moms...they just take care of people, huh? A blessing.

Jen had to run off to a meeting but we continued to sell her books, and she returned awhile later for a surprise second round. What a trouper! Though unannounced, she sat there another hour as moms who had been turned away the first time learned she was back. All with a smile and genuine sparkle in her eye for each mom who came to see her. A blessing to them and to those of us who watched.

Caryn and me.
As the Marketplace hours wound to a close, I scurried through the booths looking for gifts for my kids. I've already mentioned to David that my big plans for our evening off was to stay in my hotel room and watch LSU play Ole Miss ... and sleep. What else would help this headache go away? I see Caryn, an author and FV contributor whom I met years ago at a Synergy Women's Conference. We've seen each other in person maybe 3 times over 6 years, but chat online regularly. We took a photo together, and then she says, "Hey, I got these tickets to go to Wicked the Musical tonight. But I'm by myself. Would you want to come with me?"

One second. Ok, maybe two. That's how long it took me to ditch LSU and say, "For real??? Uh, yeah!" I did momentarily think about how exhausted I might be and would my head be able to take it, but I just went by faith that it would be worth it.

Tracey is a hoot!
Back to the hotel I laid down for a bit, hoping for a short, restorative nap. Caryn's phone call woke me out of a dead sleep. I had Passed. Out. As I left my room I realized — my headache was completely gone. Vanished. Disappeared.

Thank you, Jesus. Such grace. Whatever it was that finally did it — the meds, the rest, the sleep, the quiet, whatever—I was so grateful for an unclouded mind. We met downtown at Starbucks, where I also got a quick visit in with my previously mentioned online friend who sent me water... Tracey Solomon, MOPS board member and enthusiast, a joy to be with, and a blessing in and of herself. 

The show was amazing. I only knew that it was a takeoff of the Wizard of Oz but nothing else. The music, the message about truth and reality, friendship, sacrifice, ambition, love ... all sung by some amazingly talented singers and performers. Wow! Just Wow.
Wicked

The final song between the two "witches" is called Changed:
..."who can say if I've been changed for the better —I do believe I've been changed for the better — because I knew you, I have been changed for good."
That's how I feel about today and the women who blessed me. I wish I knew their names, those two moms who handed me pain-killers at the booth. To Tracy and the volunteers who helped manage the line, to Jen who displayed grace and generosity, to Caryn and Tracey for helping finish off my night, to the writers of Wicked for telling a story of friendship that reminds me of Erin and Sandi and Jeni and Susie and Amy and ... and ...

I am indeed blessed.

(PS. Changed seems like a great theme song for MOPS International. Just saying.)
(PPS. It seems that missing the LSU game was itself a blessing—I heard they played horribly and lost.)

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