Tiptoeing over to his side of the bed, I gently placed a hand on my rousing husband’s chest. It was early Sunday morning.
“I’m confiscating your phone,” I whispered so as not to startle him.
“Okaaayyy….that’s interesting.” He responded drowsily. “When do I get it back?”
“I don’t know, sometime today. But from this point forward, you are going to have to follow my lead. I’ve been given instructions.” I sounded like some secret agent.
Agreeing with reluctance (he knew there was some “little” surprise happening at church, and he wanted to be cooperative), he turned back over to rest. The late night drive home from Seattle was taking it’s toll. Yet, sleep eluded me. My fluttering stomach, active with excitement for the day to come, was adrenaline charged. It was time to work the plan.
I texted a few co-conspirators to check in.
I covertly touched base with each member in our house.
I readied myself.
I threw curveball ideas at my husband.
I drug my feet in getting us out the door.
I acted nonchalant.
When the clock struck 9:00 am, we headed out the door. I could see that Joel was feeling uncomfortable, knowing that he was supposed to be at the service, but realizing that we were going to be a little late. It was perfect.
It was our plan to keep him from wandering into the green room.
As we pulled into the church parking lot, a reserved spot called to us with brightly colored helium balloons and a sign. We walked into the lobby, were greeted by our youth pastor, and were escorted us to reserved seats in the front of the auditorium. I felt giddy and shaky inside, like when your little and can’t wait for Christmas morning to arrive.
I couldn’t concentrate too much on the songs.
Then the moment arrived. As we were seated, the big reveal began….
I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful the look on my husband’s face was. He had been holding back the tears when Bob Goff gave his video message from the beach. They spilled forth when the congregation expressed their love in a standing ovation. And when he actually laid eyes on Bob Goff, there was a look of vulnerability and joy you rarely get to see in others. To see it on my man was overwhelming.
Then for the next 40 minutes, we had front row seats to hear Bob Goff speak. Wow. We are still hearing comments from our church family about what a gift that they received because they were inspired by this man. And, in many ways, that was the idea. It’s one thing for Joel to try and convey what it means to be a contagious, joyful, loving Christian in our community. It’s another thing to give them an incredible example. The gift was not only Joel, but our staff and church body as well. I think we grew much as a people that day.
After the first service was over, our family was whisked to Joel’s office to have a few minutes of alone time with Bob Goff. There was a brunch spread awaiting us (can I just say that our staff is amazing?!), and we sat and visited awhile. Mostly Bob shared all sorts of inspirational ideas with the kids. He gave them the White House phone number and told them to ask for the President. He told them that they were part of his envoy.
Yeah, it was way cool.
Bob preached again that morning. This time, Joel and I stood at the back, overlooking the church family that we love as they listened to this man that we love. We soaked in a little more the second time around, I think. And before you know it, it was over. Bob had to fly out right away.
But the memories linger. Now, there are swapping of stories, of secrets kept and close calls. It was a shared experience that brought all of us closer.
Thank you, Bob, for modeling inefficient love to our church family. Thank you for loving a stranger, and for doing a cannon ball into our crazy caper.
You mean what you say: love does.
Powered by Facebook Comments