The Write Word

The Big Hoo-Ha.

There are conferences, there are CONFERENCES, and then there is The Big Hoo-Ha. It is held once a year and Honey Pie gets to go.  Every year.  I have been able to go twice in 10 years and yippie-ki-yaa this year was one of them.

The Big HooHa is as close to hallowed ground as you can imagine.  Here little ol me is able to walk the same halls, beside, behind and in AWE of, great men and women.  Giants of the faith.  Missionaries.  Church planters.  Elders who have, literally, given all. 

I am not ashamed to say that I get star-struck to see Hero’s sitting in the same section as I am, or eating in the same restaurant, or standing around talking in the hotel lobby.  People, who my mom read the autobiographies aloud to me, people who my Dad memorized the names & continents where they were working, so we could pray for them.  Great singers/songwriters who’s voices accompanied many a prayer meeting.  Great people.  Servants.  Heroes.

The arena where the BHH is held is the kind where pro basketball teams play.  It’s big, and there are lots of people. There is a space of about 30 ft between the elevated platform and the first row of chairs.  This space is designated as an altar area, for prayer at the conclusion of the service.  The first two nights I so wanted to get to the front altar area to pray, but the aisles quickly filled up and unless you were the size of a small boned elementary school pupil, there was no room to kneel in the bleacher section.

So when the preacher has moved me to my very soul on night 3, I know that I’m most likely not going to be able to make it down when the invitation is given. I am so moved by the message, I know I NEED to respond, but chances are slim to none that I’m actually going to get through the throng when he is done.  

Then I am struck with a brilliant idea.  I’ll go down now, to the side of the altar area, near the front for the few remaining moments of the sermon.  Then when the invitation is given I can move to the front to pray. 

I climb up an over everyone in my row. I clamber, as quietly as one can in high heels on metal stairs, down to the front, deposit my purse on the front row and step into the side altar area. 

Hands raised, I’m ignoring the million-bazillion people around me, in the way you can only do in a HUGE crowd, and I’m talking to God.  Until… “Laaaaady you hata mooo.”  Eyes closed, I take a step to the left. 

It’s still just me and God.  Until… “Mammm, you rrrr inaway”,  another step to the left. Ten more shoulder taps and gentle pushes to the left before finally I figure it out.  I have inadvertently positioned myself between the deaf choir and their interpreter.  I open my eyes.  And look right into the eyes of…. the preacher.

Oh yes indeedie.  I am NOT along the side.  
I am SMACK in the middle. 

At The Big HOO-HA.

Seriously.  I am so close; I can count the nose hairs on the big wigs (Becky Miller ~ you know who you are) on the platform.  Oh great.  What now.  

Maybe this is a good time to sing "I'm going to dance for you like no body's watching".  Maybe not.  Maybe I'll never sing that song again.

This is no time to keep calm and carry on.  This is time to panic and freak out.  Because I can tell that he is NOT finished.  Not even close.  And as soon as he says, “You may be seated” everyone around me is going back to their seats, because they HAVE one.  Everyone but me, the Brilliant Idea girl.

In that nano second, I have a choice to make.  I eyeball the platform, noticing the skirted bottom.  If I dive and scoot I just might make it before the “Please be seated”.  But then, how would I get back out?  What if there are electrical thingies under there that could crispy critter me?  Scratch that plan. 

I eyeball the bleacher seats.  It’s a loooong walk back over to the side.  Maybe not such a long way in any other circumstance, but here,  I would be as conspicuous as streaker on the runway at a Burka fashion show.  What to do?

So, I back up, waaaay up, until I feel my legs hit a chair. In my peripheral vision I see that the ENTIRE front section has been designated for the deaf choir who ministered earlier.   I have just been called to the deaf ministry. I sit down, praying no one asks me to move.  I figure I’ve moved quite enough tonight, thank you very much.

I sat there a mix of contradictory emotions.  I am embarrassed. Figuring that plenty of folks are laughing at my lopsided, sidestepping, in-the-way progress to where I sit.

I’m scared.  Afraid that other people will think I’m lying, sitting here on the reserved seats, that I’m pretending to be deaf so I can score a front row seat. 

I’m mad.  Angry that I didn’t NOTICE the whole deal before I stepped right smack into the middle of it. 

Then, I hear the preacher, the one and only Rev. Terry Black, and my focus is drawn away from my circumstance, back to the Big Picture.  I realize that I’m here, half by choice, half by other people’s choice, but I’m here… so why not just BE here. 

So I do.  I listen.  I forget where I am and how I got here.  I weep unashamedly as my heart receives the message God sent him to share.  And I don’t even have to wait for the invitation.  I am able to step forward, kneel, bow my head and my heart, and spend a season of prayer surrounded by the throngs of other people called to a personal altar. 

Where have you found yourself, unexpectedly?  Have you stepped forward in faith, only to find yourself hanging out in the middle, further than you expected to be? 

Maybe you feel embarrassed by the position someone else has pushed you into, or fearful that your intentions will be misinterpreted. 

Maybe you’re angry with yourself for not being more careful.  

Regardless of how you got here, God has something to teach you.  A personal alter for you to experience.  An altar is a place where something dies.  Why not crawl up on it?  Why not offer your plans, your intentions, your emotions, burn them up as a sacrifice and listen to what God has to say to you.  Here.