Consortium of Stories

Yes, I have strep throat and the flu. And it hurts. 

Well, "by all accounts I have the flu." That's what the walk-in clinic doctor said. This annoys me for two reasons. One: I got the flu shot in September. Doesn't that count for anything? Two: By all accounts based on my own extensive Web MD research, duh, of course I have the flu. I hate it when I pay to go to the doctor (and I'm not sure this one was a real doctor, I found very little doctor proof) and they just look in my throat, listen to my conditions, and then tell me something I have already determined for myself on-line. 
I guess I was hoping for some blood work or surgery or something. Instead, I got a cotton swab down the throat, a little flashlight up my nose, and a quick listen to my breathing... and believe me people, I had already self performed these procedures at home.  I am quite the doctor. Pretty soon there will be no need for general practitioners. We will get our medicine from Canada and Mexico and diagnose ourselves online.  
While we're at it we will lose the ability to communicate one on one. Instead, we will Twitter and Facebook our sacred humanity away. 
My family freaked out last night because they heard I was in the hospital. Hospital? Where in the world would they get a crazy idea like this? My sister said somebody posted it on Facebook. Really? Be it known today, ye who I love, I hereby declare that if I am in the hospital or headed to the hospital... I will call you personally.  I don't care if it's my dying breath of energy. It will be spent on using my voice and not my fingers to Twitter for mass efficiency. 
Pretty soon there will be no need for church buildings. We will just meet on-line. I received an email this week that said, "Jenny, my best friend is mad at me. She would not even text me back on her birthday?" I shook my head in dismay. They made a movie about this... Wall-E. I would say next time your friend has a birthday, try calling or even stopping by to say happy birthday in person. In person??? Aggghhhh. I am so 1910. 
Twitter. Facebook. Blog Nation. I'm trying to be down with it. But, I have some issues. Those are for another time and another place. 

Just as I began to have a moment of  "how will we pay for diapers?" panic, a stranger handed my husband a beautiful card with a $50 Babies-R-Us gift card. It simply said, "Thanks for serving the Lord by spreading his message of hope, love, and salvation. Your music and podcasts lift me up ~ Reid Boulder City, Nevada." What a beautiful gift. Thank you Reid, whoever you are. I had no idea I had a friend in Nevada, but I needed one. Thank you for pouring into us as we pour out into others. It's little things like that which keep me going. You kept me going this week.

Our waiter last night in the catering room, Javier, is a new believer in Jesus. He worked for a big drug cartel in Mexico, made a lot of money, and was completely miserable. With two little boys in constant danger and one of those Paul-on-the-road conversions, he left town and moved to Fresno, California to start over. He said the verses in the Bible about leaving your old life and your old ways convicted him the most. So now he makes $7 an hour,  barely enough to live on, but he has joy, and he has hope that his kids will have a future besides that of drugs, crime, and eventually being murdered. Javier's face radiated with joy. It is not easy for him, I know this. And he can never go back home or he will face the wrath of the drug cartel he abandoned. But he has started over and he said in the most beautiful voice, "God saved me. He saved me. Like the prodigal son he took me, a very bad man, and he gave me life again." 
He put his hand on my stomach and he said, "I hope your little girl loves people like me."
Me too. 
This morning the lady cooking her bagel in the double toaster next to mine asked me how far along I was. I told her just a few more weeks and she shook her head. She told me the worst part of having babies when she had her kids was that they had no idea what was going on. I told her about a book I just read which said ladies in the 40's and 50's were routinely rendered unconscious to give birth. "That wasn't the worst part," she said, "During labor they put you in a cold, dark room by yourself. No husbands or male doctors came in and the nurses only checked on you every hour or so. We didn't have books or the internet to explain to us what our bodies were doing. We had such little knowledge. I labored for 24 hours by myself in that room before they knocked me out."
Unbelievable. And that was only 55 years ago! 
This makes every husband who ventures into the labor and delivery room a valiant knight in shining armor. And it makes every woman who goes into the birth process with at least a bit of knowledge, well, it makes her Einstein. And I thought we weren't prepared? 
Finally, I am the worst kind of voyeur. I guess I have carried around some since of pride over the last year that I do not indulge in reality TV to the degree the guys in the band do. I mean, they watch hours, upon hours, upon hours of trashy reality shows and seem to experience true joy when they talk about each episode. I smugly decided I was way above this. But, turns out, I am worse. 
Today on our flight from San Jose to Austin the lady behind me passed out in the first class bathroom. As I was talking to the stewardess we heard three loud knocks, she ran to check on the person in the bathroom, and when the lady didn't answer she picked the lock and the lady slumped out. Without thinking I turned to Ryan, my eyes perked up in glee and delighted shock, and I said with a half smile on my face, "OH MY GOSH this is AWESOME." 
The worst of the reality TV abusers never even let his eyes leave his movie. But I... I gawked. Strained to hear. Pretended that I had to stand up to stretch my legs because of the baby just so I could get a better look, and I asked my flight attendant friend leading questions so I could get more details on the old ladies condition. I am the worst kind of person. 
We only had 4o minutes left so there was no emergency landing. But the lady stayed laid out on the floor with oxygen on and her legs stuck straight up in the air until the paramedics came for her when we landed. And I watched the whole time. The whole, entire time. And I left feeling rejuvenated. Like I had just run a marathon or given homeless children an Easter egg hunt or something noble or disciplined or amazing. 
No, I just watched someone fall out of an airplane bathroom with pure excitement. 
I am home now. About to crawl into my lovely bed. My bed. I am so excited.  Over the past two weeks I have seen so many of you. Billings, Montana. Idaho. Seattle. Las Vegas. Phoenix. Fresno. Portland. Pullman. Ontario. It has been a beautiful ride. I fight these feelings of guilt already about being a bad mom.  Tonight I especially feel like an evil mom for taking antibiotics and pumping them into her system just so I can feel better. Some nights I feel guilty because I wonder if it's OK to bring a little girl into the world and put her into this type of traveling life without giving her a choice? Other times I feel guilty because I....uggghh....ok, I have not really taken my prenatal vitamins or studied books on how to put her on a schedule. 
Sometimes I feel like a guilty mom to a little baby who has not even seen the sun or the moon yet. 
But then I look out at 13,000 people in an arena, hands raised, singing and worshipping this amazing God and I think... really? And I am worried about vitamins and baby schedules and all the books that I haven't had time to read? Life is so much bigger.  
So Anniston, please forgive me for all the little things I already mess up on. But I hope you get to see these people too, all over the country, all over the world. I hope you get to see their love, their worship, their devotion...I hope you get to see your family in Nevada and Dallas and California and Boston and overseas and everywhere in between and know their joy and passion the way I have known and experienced it these past few weeks. I will mess up, but love covers a multitude of sins. And you, my little person, will be well loved. 
Come soon little girl. I am ready for you.