This post was originally going to be entitled: Dear Post Master General.
It would then go into my utter disappointment at the complete and total customer service nightmare that has become the United States Postal System. I was ready to say that it was, perhaps, an even more torturous experience than waiting in line at the DPS... and let's be honest, most of those people are mean and that process is daunting. Anyways, then the blog would go into a section about how Benjamin Franklin, who established the postal system, would be so disappointed at the current state of rising stamp costs, inefficient delivery times, and worse, a majority of workers who look like they would rather be sitting in jury duty while having their toenails ripped off rather than serving you.
(In our old apartment complex the postal carriers actually didn't deliver the mail until after they had worked out in our gym. In uniform and everything! Just chilling, talking, lifting weights, and then... oh yeah, there was that mail delivery thing. True story, I promise!)
Finally, I was to propose a plan, which I would CC on to President Obama that stated because of the current financial woes of our country, all mean people who serve in the customer service sector should be replaced with happy people who are willing to work with a bit of motivation, pride, and a smile. Jobs are scarce, right? In which case, give preference to hard working, pleasant people. There you go America, I have solved another national crisis: Smile shortage.
Anyways, now I am changing the title of this blog to:
Rock and Worship Road Tour, Day One.
I am sitting backstage listening to Jeremy Camp right now. Tenth Avenue North and Hawk Nelson have already performed. I will go back on stage in about thirty minutes to sing one more song acoustically. And then Mercy Me.
We are in Billings, Montana and it is a full house... over 7,500 people. Since tonight is the first night of the tour in a smaller state and smaller venue we only hoped for 5,000 people tops. But when the doors opened they kept pouring in and pouring in; from Montana, three other states, even Canada, their energy oozed into the room, then exploded. We got on stage and started off the night and all of a sudden I got a little choked up. Here I am, actually doing it. It was an overwhelming feeling of excitement and humility.
I felt like God was smiling as he watched my heart explode.
It wasn't the greatest day. Woke up at 6 a.m. feeling anxious and nauseous. Started to have a panic attack on the first flight. I haven't had one of these in months, but it was a real, bonafide, can't breath, sweating, out of body, terrified panic attack. I diverted myself as long as possible, fell asleep, and woke up on the descent only to find that I was on the verge of throwing up. And wouldn't you know it was the one time I didn't have one of those little bag thingies in my seat pocket??? Ryan got to his bag, but he was a little too late.
I mostly threw up all over myself. My hair, pants, shirt, and my only jacket. It's 34 degrees here.
I'm too cheap to spend $30 during my lay-over at the Denver airport on a pair of souvenir sweat pants that say "Colorado" with bear claws, so I go to the bathroom and try to remove as much evidence as I can. Still, I felt disgusting. I just wanted to change.
We landed in Billings and my luggage didn't show up.
So I spent the next four hours at the venue in clothes covered with vomit (I figured this was great practice for being covered in spit-up). And I felt gross. And ugly. And like an elephant which is how I feel a lot these days. Especially after I learned yesterday that Anniston is weighing in on the "big side" which probably explains why I have gained 40 pounds, outgrown my maternity clothes, and STILL have six weeks left! 40? 40? 40. How is that number possible? There is a severe problem when you have outgrown stretchy pants. I mean, what comes next? How did this happen?
(And then I hear the voice in my head: Thanksgiving, Birthday cake, Christmas, Baby Shower cakes, Mexican food twice a week, an inability to work out while housing a little person in my stomach, and two tours with all you can eat catering. Oh, and zebra mocha's from Starbucks. Yep, maybe that's the reason for the 40 pounds.)
Anyways, the bags came. The clothes got changed. The pregnancy Spanx girdle from my aunt took away the elephant. The make-up was put on. And I was able to make it to the kick-off tour meeting.
There I am... me, the guys, Jeremy Camp and his wife, all the Mercy Me guys, Tenth Ave North guys and Hawk Nelson. Managers from Nashville, booking agents, promoters, our road pastor, crew guys... basically just a big family of really passionate, creative, hard-working people who have a desire to make good music for God's glory. All crammed into a room listening to Bart from Mercy Me talk about his desire for this night of worship to change people or at least give them a break from life so they can be renewed, filled with joy, and even challenged to give that back out to people around the world. He pours out his heart for this tour. To be able to let people come for next to nothing so that they can be blessed. He challenges us to be true to our calling and says that we are all bands that have hearts beating on the same page as Mercy Me and that's why we're all in the room together, doing this tour together, following an outrageous call from God together.
Did you know that Mercy Me does not make a dime off this tour unless we fill each arena with over 8,000 people each night? That's a huge step of faith. Just so people can come for $10. So every person and family and church can afford it. I think that's amazing.
Anyways, somewhere in between the talking and trying to secretly take pictures of other artists for my autograph book (I kid, I kid) and eating my whole grain noodles with marinara sauce and grilled shrimp (see what I mean? Luxury eating for the next 20 days!) my heart just completely froze up and grasped what I was doing. What I was in the midst of.
Four songs. 17 dates. Not curing cancer or saving any child... but still, being a part of a family that will bring hope and joy and fun and moments of worship to thousands and thousands of people across the country. I stopped eating. Looked around. And felt overwhelmingly grateful.
What on earth am I doing here?
Makes the mean people at the post office seem awfully trivial. And my follow up blog on the banking industry not providing enough tellers during lunchtime and the cops in my neighborhood who coyly hide and run radar... well, that seems a bit insignificant right now as well.
Right now I am just enjoying the fact that we can do this. All of us. We can meet in arenas and play our hearts out or sing our hearts out until we don't have a voice left. We can collect money to change the lives of kids all over the world through Compassion International during the show. We can freely worship. Love. Give. Come together. And then go home to nice warm beds.
We can dream of something when we are little. Soak it up. Love it. Aspire for it. And... sometimes it happens for us.
Tonight I realized it sort of happened for me. There is no where in the world I would rather be. Swollen ankles and all. I am really grateful to sit here with my little girl kicking in my stomach taking it all in. Wondering how in the world we got here. And how God might long to use me.
One day I will tell Anniston that this world is full of amazing people. I know, because I am living in the middle of them. I am living in your midst.
And I am glad to be here.