What a pair of weeks!
Some of you have wondered what cliff I fell off. I fell off expedia.com.
In August, my daughter instructed me, "You will visit me in college in February for the presentation of the school rings." I, of course, answered, "Yes ma'am."
Well, it's February.
But about 3 weeks ago my mother in the Lord, Fay, asked me to attend a conference with her in Sacramento the very next weekend. This very weekend, as it happens.
In 25 years of faithful love, this woman has never asked me to do anything before. She didn't even ask me to attend her 70th birthday party. How could I even contemplate saying no? Well, contemplate I did. I had to. It was all I could do to even consider laying down money for FOUR flights in a two-week span, and 5 total days of vacation for nothing more than pleasure. With four flights at stake, there'd better be a chance to save a small polynesian island from destruction or some such!
But, there was the chance to make Fay happy, which was almost as good. So I bought the tickets. I didn't quite "shut up" and buy the tickets, but I bought them.
The first weekend, of course, was seeing my daughter. As an exercise in solidarity with her, I did not rent a car when I landed. Instead, I rode the mass transit system to her college, just like she had to when she flies. She was a real sweetheart, though, and met me at the airport to hold my hand through the scary train terminals. It was nice having her confident guidance through the frightening process of putting two of my hard earned dollars into the train-token machine, and eventually we made it. (Go ahead - ask whether I'm kidding.)
The weekend was beautiful. Her college is truly lovely, and the ring presentation ceremony was quite moving. Each of 155 girls stepped across the stage one at a time, was greeted by the school president (whom they each know personally), and received her ring with great dignity.
Evidently the ring is more than just a symbol. It's a sign all over the world to other alums that its wearer is a sister. And so many women having these rings have risen to places of influence that one local business man refers to them as a type of Cosa Nostra. At any rate, each of the girls entered into a deep, meaningful, long-term relationship with that ring that night. It was really cute to watch.
The ceremony ended with a slide presentation showing a picture of each of the girls as a child then another as a lady.
Did they have to make us all cry like that?
It was just a beautiful time.
I took the rapid transit system back to the airport and walked the half-mile from the depot to my ticketing station - only to find out the sales computers could not find my ticketing information. I cried uncle, and asked the drones for their help, and they couldn't find it either. On a hunch, I pulled out my BlackBerry, and checked my expedia.com details.
I had scheduled my flight out for Monday, not Sunday.
I was the dweeb.
You should have seen the nice ticketing ladies (suddenly they weren't drones any more) all relax when I smiled and said, "Um. I know what the problem is, and it's me."
They went to work, and were able to get me home on Sunday for only $600. Nope. I spent an extra day in Atlanta. And an extra $150. And an extra day of vacation. And woke up at 1:51 AM, ready to GO.
Oh well. It was a nice extra day off in its own way.
Today finds me in flight toward Sacratomato, CA. Tomorrow I will be at the "Precious Blood of Christ" conference with Fay. I will probably have something to say about this when I return. As the Lord would order things, this very subject has been on my heart for a while.
I was concerned when I was too young to vote that the church had fallen away from Christ. Now that I'm thoroughly into my forties, I've swung the other way, and am ready to seek a permanent home somewhere in the center.
When I started this blog I argued that doctrine does not matter, but only life in Christ. I am ready to correct this in myself, and I think the blood of Christ may be the perfect spot check to use on a church. I don't care whether they're Calvinist or Dispensationalist or Sacramental, but do they hold that the blood of Christ was physical and spiritual and the most precious collection of cells ever to die on this planet? Do they believe the Son entered into heaven as the Father's heir carrying that blood and that He purchased back our lives from death? If so, I'll plant my butt in their pew and worship the Lord.
If they believe the blood is a fundamentalist anachronism that makes it harder for us to evangelize, to connect with Bhuddists, Muslims, and Animists, then I'll run. Ours is a bloody faith, full of suffering and death. God cannot redeem that which is not lost, and the cross is where that redemption happens.
If the Lord is gracious, I will come back from this conference with a vision of the depths and riches of the Life that ran in Christ's veins and was burnt on the altar of the Father's love for us. Either way, I'll let ya'll know.
Love ya. Thanks for dropping in.
(And yes, I loved the movie, The Road Warrior. It was a solid, solid movie if you don't mind violence.)
(And has anyone else found what I experienced? United Airlines kicks butt. American Airlines was consistently disappointing, but United has blown me away with their attention to my wishes. Their automated ticketing system is brilliant. Their waiting areas are well attended. Their in-flight service is spectacular. I think I'm sold. And it really is fun listening to them talk to the tower on channel 9.)