Friday, July 24, 2009
How About This?
Okay, so I'm at the Christy Awards, right? And yeah, I know. I didn't ask you to help me figure out what to wear. Trust me. You did not want to share that anguish with me. Not for a second. You should have seen what I was going to wear at first. It was so tragically wrong that I found myself praying in TJ Maxx for mercy and help. And then I was steered toward these dress/shirt/skirt things with a tube top. I loved them when I saw them earlier in the season, but of course I wouldn't wear such a thing. Not at my weight. But there it was, all shiny and beautiful, and it had butterflies fluttering up near the bodice. How was I supposed to resist butterflies? God had sent me to my dress. The one that would make my heart happy. Not to mention later I wore it as a skirt with a wide belt, and as a fabulous top over jeans at a dinner party.
You may notice I didn't have hooker heels on this year. Lovies, that would have been torture. Did I tell you that the ceremony took place on Saturday, the day I arrived in Denver? On travel days I'm never quite right. This was a really, really bad travel day. By the time I got off that plane I was an aching mess. So, I had to use my cane. Notice that I also have a brace on my wrist. It was that kind of fibromyalgia day.
You can see behind me other people are standing against the wall. Those were the other finalists. I had the misfortune to be called to the stage first because my category was first. Not only was I unsure about when I should go up, but it took me an excruciatingly long time to get to the stage.
I wish I could tell you that every step I hobbled I did so giving thanks. I'm afraid I was a little caught up in self-pity. All the agonizing I did about what I'd wear meant little when I was in so much pain. I wanted to be fabulous, with all eyes on me because I looked stunning. I'm not even sure what birthed such a fantasy, but I can tell you I certainly did NOT look or feel fabulous. At all! If all eyes were on me it was likely because of my painfully slow ascent up three little stairs. And you know what else? I knew I wasn't going to win. I knew it deep in my bones. At least people were praying for me.
Prayer really does change things. As I took a final belabored step toward Donna, suddenly the heavens opened. I felt the arms of God wrap around me. Not only did God know how much it cost to write that book--to even get to the point of being asked to write it--my friend Donna knew. It was she who indulged my dreams when I said I love Christian fiction, no matter what, because I always find Jesus in it. And lovies, I'm always looking for Jesus. It was Donna who I told I just wanted a little Christy nod! I didn't have to win it! It was she who listened to me bemoan my fate as a black CBA writer. She knew it all, and God knew all she did and more, and suddenly Donna was putting a Christy Medallion around my neck, and the two of them, God and my friend where holding me.
My heart was split wide open, and all the love I could stand poured in. God didn't have to say, "Well done." With every fiber of my being I knew I did what I could. I tried. And God's reward was greater, kinder, more resplendant than any effort I made. He showered me with love. In that singular, amazing moment. Whatever indignity I endured to get there, and there were some, any slight or pain, it all fell away from me. I was swept up in something big, and magical, and good.
For me, it was the moment in my life like Michelle and Barack's, when they were dancing their Inaugural dance. He looks at her and says, "How about this?" That's how I felt in God and my friend's arms.
"How about this?"
My friend had just put the Christy Medallion around my neck. Other friends, so many of them, old and new were there. Some of them made it possible for me to be in Denver that night. One or two of them made Zora and Nicky possible, in more than a few notable ways. My son Kamau was tracking the live blog, and so was my sister Carly, and bff Mary. And they were clapping, and watching, and rooting. All was well. Truly.
God gave me more than I hoped for. It was better than what I dreamed it would be. And I won! Not the Christy Award, but so much more.
That's why I'm smiling in this picture, cane; wrist brace; broken body, and all. Because God is so very good.
And so are my kind friends.
Thank you all! You rawk!
p.s. Zora and Nicky is now an ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Book of the Year finalist!