|Here I am with 8,200 new friends and a big-screen Beth Moore.|
"I have an extra ticket to the Beth Moore event in Big City this weekend. Would anyone like to go with me?
At least I'm assuming she wrote 'to go with me' because before I even finished reading the sentence I was frantically replying, waving my hand and shouting "Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!" like a third-grader who had done her homework and wants the teacher's attention. "Pick me! Pick me!"
The next day, she did pick me, but there was a caveat: She had discovered that she wouldn't be able to attend the event after all, so I would have two tickets instead of one. I started texting and calling friends, but with only two days until the event, I struck out over and over. This person was moving and couldn't go; that one had already made plans; a third wasn't feeling well. In the end, I gave the ticket to the scholarship fund of another church, and I went by myself.
Do you hear the significance of those last four words. Let me repeat them:
I went by myself.
A decade ago, I would have sooner danced in the church aisle than attend an event by myself where 8,200 other women would be sitting with me and judging me for being friendless. Or at least I assume they would have been judging me, and wondering what sad and sorry life I lived that I couldn't find someone to go with me to see BETH MOORE, which in evangelical women's circles is kind of like a Catholic not being able to find someone to go see the pope. Seriously. She's that popular.
She's that popular for a reason, though, and I really wanted to see her, so I pulled up my self-esteem and spent the day with multiple thousands of friends I hadn't met yet. And do you know what? It was fine. Good, even. Fantastic and fulfilling and wonderful, even.
Here are some things that are nice about going to an enormous event by yourself:
You leave when you want to, and if the morning is the most beautiful morning you have seen perhaps ever in your life, you can focus on the mist rising off the pond and the glory of the sunflowers--both domestic and wild--without interruption.
You can sit down in a single seat in the middle of the row and find out that you are smack-dab in the middle of a group from Grove, Oklahoma, and it will be the first time in your life you've ever been adopted by 20 lovely women from Grove, Oklahoma.
You can burst into tears during the first song, and no one cares. Of course, half the women in the audience are in tears as well (we're a damp-faced bunch, us Beth Moore fans) so no judging here, but you would have been judging yourself if you'd been with a friend.
You can eat or not eat and get a drink or not get a drink and stand in the line for the bathroom for 20 minutes without feeling bad that your companion is waiting for you.
You can browse the books and take all the time in the world, without worrying that someone is waiting for you to make up your mind already.
Listening to Beth Moore for eight hours reminding me of my place in the heart of God was wonderful and soul-filling. But a good part of the wonder of the day was experiencing it by myself, something I would never have ventured to do ten years ago.
Sometimes being a grown-up is kind of fun.