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.