Last week I was able to attend a weekend conference featuring Beth Moore and Travis Cottrell. Beth Moore is far and away my favourite bible study teacher right now, and has been for the past eight years or so. When I watch her teach, she is so engaging and dynamic. But when I listen to her teach, she reaches my intellectual craving when it comes to bible study. She's got history, geography, cultural references, etymology. And she studies things at such a slow pace (like, four or five verses a day) that by the end of a ten week study you know that book of scripture so well it's just saturating everything you do.
Travis Cottrell is the man who leads the worship and music portion of her conferences. He was an opera singer turned worship leader and his voice and passion reflect that background in music. From the first note my eyes just wouldn't stop overflowing.
As it happened, I was able to get a front row seat, both days (first come, first serve.) A group of my friends were coming and sitting in a certain section, but with propensity to be early I was within the first dozen through the doors. I beelined to the front and found two seats (for a line mate I met) right in the front that were unreserved (most of the first 10 rows were reserved for staff and volunteers.) Although I missed my friends, God knew I needed to be right up front. There, I was able to look without distraction, and worship as though God and I were one on one. Every word from every song saturated my soul, and every word from his Word planted itself in my heart.
Friday night I was staying in a hotel, since Saturday started early. I lingered at the end of the Friday night session, hoping to speak to Travis and the other musicians. (Not that I ever know what to say.) I hovered, unsure of how to step in, until another woman near my expressed her nervousness also. So I just pushed her up ahead and forced her to break the ice (aren't I nice!) At the end of her conversation with Travis, she mentioned that now she had to figure out what public transit bus to take to get home.
Immediately the spirit whispered to me "offer her a ride." She was a middle aged woman relying on a cane, and also perhaps partially deaf. I had an empty van and only a hotel to go to. I wanted to say something so badly, but the introvert in me froze my mouth and I stood there, saying nothing. The woman turned and left. I stepped up to Travis, and, of course, had literally nothing to say. I mumbled a word or two of appreciation and turned tail, booting it out of the arena.
When I finally eased my pace at the front doors, I felt awful. I knew I needed to give that woman a ride, but there were 5000 women in the huge stadium. How would I ever find her? But as I turned around, there she was, struggling up the stairs. I approached her, saying that I knew I was a stranger but could I offer her a ride? She gratefully accepted.
The adventure began there: she didn't drive and so didn't know the roads very well. My phone (and GPS) was giving me a strange error I had never seen before and so wasn't working. The woman knew the major road she was looking for, so we just headed out. We made a few wrong turns before finding that road, and then we headed off. I drove about 20 minutes in the direction, which I knew was in the opposite direction of my hotel. I dropped her off at her front door and then paused. I hadn't printed directions for the hotel, as I was relying on my phone's GPS. But I did know it was right near the airport. So I just rolled down my window and peeked up into the dark night sky. Before long I saw a few planes overhead and I was able to track the direction in which they were landing. That gave me enough bearings to drive toward the airport. Before long the hotel name appeared in blazoned lights, to my utter relief.
As I finally collapsed in bed after a late night dinner, nearly 3 hours after the conference ended, I was grateful that I was given a second chance to follow the promptings of the spirit. It was a small effort on my part, but a large blessing to that woman. And a story I will remember for a while.