i’m not a surfer, really. but i have surfed. mostly, i’ve struggled to get out past large waves about to crash on me. so i have a bit of first-hand knowledge of being on the wrong side of a wave. just at the moment the lip is coming over, and the wave is beginning to curl over, there’s a puff of air and a small sprinkling of moisture that shoots out.
when doug p was standing on stage last night, talking about blessing one another with thanks, he glanced over at me, and had emotion in his eyes, and i caught the puff of air and small sprinking of moisture. and it stopped me cold (or warm?). and (this is stupid, but i’ll risk it anyway), the overwhelming feeling (it was more of a feeling than a thought) was this: i didn’t think they knew. i didn’t think they knew how much i’d loved this ride and sweated and bled for it. in hindsight, it’s absurd. of course they knew. but i never expected to be thanked. and never expecting it, i certainly didn’t expect it to be public.
i received deep hugs. gentle kisses (though it was a blur, and, later, when i asked chris seay if he was there, he touched three places on my face and told me they were the three places he’d kissed me). beautiful words. a long and moving applause. seeing my wife stand next to me crying. the emotion on karla’s face. the smell of cedar that revealed the gift tony so lovingly chose for me before i saw it. and i knew exactly what tony meant when he said, “through bad times and good times”. and i knew that he knew.
after, a middle-age man came up to me with tears in his eyes. he said he stumbled into this convention three years ago not knowing how he could go on in ministry, or even with his faith. he told me how it has changed everything for him. he told me how the change in him has provided a new path for his daughter’s faith and a way for her to be in ministry. his thanks and handshake was one of the richest i’ve ever received from someone i don’t know.
i said i don’t have many words for this experience (in my previous post), and i suppose my rambling here shows that’s not quite true. god, let my words be few. help me to soak in this, not quantify this, or pack it away, or objectify it. help me hold onto the feeling of being blessed.