Tuesday, June 15, 2021

An Audience of One

It was one of those moments when crumbling to the floor was not the appropriate response but it was truly what I wanted to do.

I had spent hours and hours preparing my speeches and creating the PowerPoints to go with them. I had prayed over them and worked through them and finalized them and was ready to go. 

Yes, I was nervous. I had never given a speech with cameras everywhere and multiple faces staring at me from 8 different computer monitors. I was speaking live to thousands of moms and dads all over the country who were watching from their living rooms. The stage was impressive, the entire set up was awe inspiring. I was humbled and excited.

A few hours before I was to go on for my first speech, I was waiting in our hotel room with John and Mary and our aide, watching one of the speakers who was ahead of me. It was raining outside but we were cozy and happy and it was peaceful in our room. 

Until the lightning struck and our room went dark. 

Our room went dark.

I was scheduled to speak in a little over an hour and the hotel just lost electricity.

I grabbed my computer and my phone and John and I ran. 

Backup lighting lit our way through the halls. The hotel generators were working, and when we arrived in the studio they reassured me that all would be well. 

The computers needed to reboot, but once they did everything would be fine.

So we sat and prayed along with others who were sitting and praying.

And when the computers came on-line, the speaker ahead of me began.

All was well. The schedule was a bit off but we could adjust.

I listened to her and felt peaceful. 

Until everything crashed just as I was to go on. The generators, the internet.

It was a disaster.

I sat there. Shocked. Watching the men as they brainstormed and discussed what to do.

The leaders approached me. Would I be willing to do my speech without an audience. They would tape it. 

I wanted to crumble to the floor. All the hours. All the time. All the work. Talking to empty monitors is not the same as talking to a live audience. My speech was written for a live audience. 

Yes. I was willing. If that was the only option. I was willing. But. If I could have an audience of only one it would be better. I only asked for one. One live person.

It was stupid of me to say that. How ridiculous a request. 

Either you have no audience or a full audience. Right?

Asking for one was absurd. 

But in the moment - at that time - it's what I requested and it was what I prayed. Lord - let me speak to at least one.

We waited. We prayed. We prayed some more. The electricity came back on. The internet was restored.

They set up my computer and turned on my PowerPoint. Those 9 monitors in front of me - they each had to re-boot. 

We waited. And waited.

Finally one booted. One monitor.

It came on. Crippled. A screenful of names but every face blanked out except one.

One person in the top left corner was live.

She was looking at me in anticipation and I gave my speech to her. The one. She was the perfect audience. She nodded and responded. She laughed at my jokes and reacted to my stories. For 27 minutes I shared my heart with her. 

When I broke for a break they told me I actually had a decent sized audience. I just hadn't been able to see them. They brought another monitor up and it was filled with faces. Smiling faces of people who had been listening. People who had heard. People who appreciated what I had to say.

I cried when it was over.

Not a crumbling to the floor in despair cry but one of grateful praise. I made a ridiculous request and asked for an audience of one and God answered. He gave me one person in the top left screen of a crippled monitor who received what I had to share with joy and enthusiasm.

He's that kind of God.

A God who hears and responds.

It was a surreal experience and one I will never ever forget.

An absurd request heard by a Loving God.


What a difference a year makes.

Last year we were home, home home.

This year is one of travel.

In the last few months I have traveled to South Carolina, Missouri, Florida, Pennsylvania (Aaron to Shriners), Norfolk, Virginia (where I spoke to an audience of one) and this morning I fly to Texas and then Colorado.

Between July and August I am going more than I am coming...

Thankfully, the kids have been able to go on a few of the trips and will go on more in the coming months. It's harder with them tagging along in so many ways, but I like having them with me. 

Poor Rob is stuck at home writing and writing and writing. He's barely able to come up for air.

We are SO CLOSE to finishing a total upgrade of our Ancient book for high schoolers. It's going from 350 pages to 800 pages. It is going to be stupendous. We just need to drag through the next few months and then we are going to celebrate with some restful quiet.

Mary continues to ride the seizure roller coaster. She has amazing days and then she tanks. 

In Norfolk she tanked three times. It would be easy to despair when it happens but we just remind ourselves that she is so much better now than a year ago or two years ago. Her body slamming to the floor seizures are rare and she has many days at home when she can run carefree without the helmet.

Leaving her is the hardest part.

Each night Rob tucks her in beside me around 11 pm. I know her breathing. I understand her movements. I can react when she starts to tank. 

We have monitors and she wears a seizure watch but for me - having her tucked in beside me is the most peaceful.

I feel lost when she is not breathing keto-breath next to me. 

All I can do when I am gone is whisper prayers to a God who knows my girl. 

And rest in the knowledge that the same God who answers absurd prayers for an audience of one will watch over and keep my girl while I am gone.