Thank you for coming. I have been eagerly anticipating your arrival since the beginning of Summer. When May sent me invitations to join you on back to back weekends at Cure and Hutchmoot less than a week apart I didn't quite know what to do with myself. Stuff like this doesn't happen to me. It happens to other people but not me. Until....it did. and dear October I am still sitting here trying to wrap my head around it.
April 28th I asked people to give money to Cure for my birthday. I was terrified that no one would give and I would be sitting there looking like a crazy fool. I nearly deleted my request a dozen times but then I threw it out there, then went and hid under a blanket. Two days later on May 1st, I got an email from the director of partner relations at Cure asking if we could grab coffee sometime to talk about Cure. He had no idea what I had requested for my birthday. Three weeks later on May 20th I found myself sitting across from him at the Panera in Concord sharing conversation about how he and his wife had been youth pastors prior to him working for Cure and our mutual love for Jesus, the Church, and books. Then I sat listening to him explain Cure a little bit more and tell story after story, after story, about child after child, after child and the healing that followed their brokenness thanks to Cure. I fell in love with Cure a little bit more. We talked for a solid three hours with the promise to keep in touch.
Four days later on May 24th, you would have found me sitting in my car dumbfounded, mouth hanging slightly open as I stared at a pamphlet I had just opened, asking me to come to an all expense paid weekend in Baltimore to learn more about Cure. Later that night I remember sitting on the edge of my parents bed telling my mother how excited I was and about how I knew why God didn't let me get into Hutchmoot earlier that year--I said, "He knew I would get this opportunity and knew I couldn't handle two back to back weekends." I kind of think now God was smirking at my attempt to figure Him out.
On May 28th I sent the registration for Cure and was followed on Twitter by an author named Helena. (Side note: I knew I would love Helena's book because on her website she had quotes from Lewis, Chesterton, Tolkien, and Buechner)
On May 29th I got an email from Pete Peterson that contained the words, "We've just had one spot open up for Hutchmoot 2013, please let me know ASAP." I thought about it for all of thirty seconds before I sent a reply saying that I would love to attend. And the only reason I hesitated for even thirty seconds was because of hotel cost. But I knew deep down in my bones that I couldn't miss this opportunity so I dove in.
June 1st I looked at hotels, almost booked one but decided I needed to wait and the following day, June 2nd Helena my new author friend said that she wished I wasn't in North Carolina because she thought we might be kindred spirits, so I mentioned I was going to be in Nashville for Hutchmoot, thinking that we could grab coffee on my way in or out of town so I could meet her. She then said, "If you don't have a place to stay you can totally stay here!"
Public Service announcement: Don't offer Ming something unless you really mean it, because there is a good chance she will take you up on it if she really likes you. So don't invite her to do lunch or to visit you unless you are prepared for her to actually do it.
I waited two days to gain the courage and then told Helena I would love to if she was being serious (all while praying that she didn't think I was completely insane for taking her up on her offer that may have been a joke) and her being the amazing person she is-she said she was serious and just like that I had a place to stay.
And then October you came and magic happened.
And I just sitting here kind of dumbfounded wondering when my life became like a story that is so crazy I couldn't have made it up in my head.