Who is Mair smooching on this piccha???
Yesterday my good friends and publishing family members Don Pape and Terry Behimer surprised me with a conspiracy of grace. They orchestrated to pick me up at the airport in a big honkin' black stretch limo. My plane was supposed to arrive before theirs and according to my schedule I had to wait a bit before I would meet them, but Don and Terry would be worth the wait.
Let me give you a little history about Don and Terry. Don and I go waaaaaaaay back to Ancient Days in 2004, back when I was stealing Today's Christian Woman from the hospital surgical waiting room--thought I'm inclined to think stealing is a strong word for the conspiracy of grace of the person who left those there for me to take home with me freely. As in free! Anyway, it was that Teddy Bear who nudged by Lisa Samson took a peek over here in raga-land and sent me an email asking me if I'd be interested in writing a novel for his publishing house. He ended up becoming a literary agent three weeks after I finished the novel and represented it instead of publishing it. When he became publisher again and my career appeared to have imploded, Don Pape, the day after that awful call, emailed me and with the second best offer of my career, and that is how Zora and Nicky was born.
Terry has been one of the strongest allies I could have in the publishing business. Not only does she proclaim Mair wheresoeever she goes, she is both a mentor and friend. There are few people in this world I love more, and when I don't hear her voice and too much time has passed I genuinely crave her. I could go on and on about Terry, but in true girlfriend fashion, well, you just keep some girlfriend stuff between girlfriends.
We also waited for Andrea Christian. She is a young powerhouse, and daughter of another Christian book industry powerhouse Rick Christian. I love Andrea, too. We always have fun together and it's been a joy to work with her on Zora and Nicky. So thinking I'd share the limo with just these three was plenty cool with me. And then Terry mentions there's just one more person. She hopes I don't mind...
It's the guy I'm smooching there. I'm sure some of you recognize him already, that rascal. He was wearing a pink shirt, and what Terry called "wacky pants." They were some throwbacks: a pair of windowpane pants that matched the shirt. They were a plaidesque pink and green and yellow and light blue and white. His suit case was black and I had a pink laptop bag. I was wearing black pants and a zebra top, so of course I asked if we could switch outfits. He said those pants were 15 years old! And somebody offered him five hundred bucks for them! I told them I couldn't afford that because Terry didn't give me big enough advances. And that made him laugh. Then Andrea started in on feeding him peanut butter ice-cream--you all missed that story--to distract him and get the pants off of him. Now that was Andrea talking about getting the man out of his pants. It was not me this time.
Anyway, he's working on a memoir for David C. Cook, and I asked him how it was going. He said he thought it would be pretty boring. He said that his friend is Francis McNutt, and I know McNutt's writings. He said told me about the miracles. And he doesn't have miracles. And I was astounded, not because he doesn't have miracles, but because this man's writing has infused every word that I write here. EVERY WORD. So I took a few moments to tell him how much he meant to me. And how The Ragamuffin Gospel came to me when I was so messed up. And I told him how hard life was for me, and how other peoples expectations for a 16-year-old missionary had me so beat down by the time I was 30 I felt like I my title was "God's Biggest Disappointment." I wanted to cry as I told him this, but I stayed strong to tell my story better.
I told him that it is the ordinary messes he touches. People who don't need to read about a miracle, but who need to know that God loves them just as they are. I couldn't even hold my head up in my Heavenly Father's House. And that is tragic. It is a shame to feel too a weary to be loved on by God in what should be your spiritual home. I told that man he taught me that I was okay with God. More than okay really. Loved.
Isn't that a kind of miracle if you truly don't believe it?
Isn't that the Gospel? To me, that God loved me, even though I'd messed up like a dog returning to it's own vomit, and God still LOVED ME... that was GOOD NEWS.
I told him these things, and it was one of the best times of my life. And I think it blessed him. When I finished he said, "Holy mackerel."
When we got to the hotel I asked if I could take a piccha on my computer. I knew it would be a wacky picture because it's hard to hold the computer and smooch. Andrea had to hold the computer, but she couldn't see the image and we had to try a couple of times--poor me. I had to kiss that man, like at least twice! (wink) But this was how I wanted it. Right on my own computer. Because I love my computer. And I love my friends. And I love that they knew I'm his biggest fan. And I mean it's a LEGEND how much I'm his biggest fan. I even got to tell him about putting "my cheese has fallen off it's cracker" on my header. For those who haven't read the book, that's from the introduction to The Ragamuffin Gospel. And of course you all should know by now that the name Ragamuffin Diva itself is a tribute of sorts to my hero.
Yes, ma'am. Yes sir. You see it right here. On a historic day, an Amazing Day, 7/7/07 God let his ragamuffin diva, a seventh born child, at long last meet her hero, the one and only:
Mr. Brennan Manning.