Sunday, October 05, 2008


I stood in the center of the courtyard, on the inner footpath that connected the various buildings of the campus. I was a bit surprised that the actual facility presented itself in such minature fashion, since the surrounding parking lots, filled to the brim with vehicles, sprawled across the urban landscape with a hunger to overtake.

I contemplated the series of events that had led me to be where I stood. There was no doubt that the Lord had orchestrated the whole plan. I had simply followed His lead. His lead would do nothing short of bring me immense joy, and I felt grateful.

Aubrey was fussing and fuming. Her demeanor and her words indicated she had no interest in spending her Saturday this way, but I held firm. Our little party of four found its' way into the sanctuary, and was seated.

Once settled, I looked up, surveying the landscape before me. So, this was one of the largest churches in America?? Another note of surprise struck a chord within me ~ but the note was overwritten by the back of her head.

There was no mistaking the back of her head. There she was ~ before the conference was to begin, chatting gaily with a few gals that had surrounded her. I wasted no time.
I grabbed my camera. I headed down the aisle.
There have been a handful of literary books from my childhood, outside of the Bible, that have impacted me on a core level. The series by Laura Ingalls Wilder (no explanation necessary); a book about the Trail of Tears called Yellow Leaf; and an autobiography titled: Joni.
While I have been unable to articulate what it was about Joni's journey, exactly, that made it's mark on me, there has been little doubt that her tragedy-turned-triumph-in-the-hand-of-the-Lord significantly shaped and molded my ability to handle adverse circumstance.
I placed my hand on her shoulder, indicating my presence, and leaned in to say hello. At the very moment I did so, someone from the platform began to speak. Drat! I'd have to articulate quickly.
Articulate? Who could articulate as her eyes locked onto mine with a fierce brightness that betrayed the joy of the Lord, and her voice lilted in an exuberant greeting of "Well, hello there!"?
I hoped my smile in return said the same.
The instructions from the platform tumbled and tossed over my head. I'd have to make this brief. A simple thank-you-for-making-a-positive-impact-on-my-life was all I had time for. No fun me-n-Joni self-portraiture.
But those eyes. Her eyes held nary an ounce of thought for herself in the thank you I expressed. No. The credit was His. That was evident.
I returned to my seat. As Joni shared in the first session of the day, her ability to weave words together to create imagery that pierces the soul produced unhindered tears - profuse in the making - not only in me, but others as well. And those words? They all pointed to Him.

How glorious the day.
My camera was not bereft of function. Here, a mini photo journal of the day I met Joni Eareckson Tada. Oh, and Aubrey? Consider her heart won over.


Dawn Sodini said...

How awesome is that! We love to listen to her! Glad you had an awesome day- our campfire was wonderful!

~ Denise ~ said...

Neat!! So neat!!

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