drops like stars

wednesday evening i had the rare and exceptional experience of attending rob bell's drops like stars tour in toronto. now, not being one who enjoys concert-type events, i really wasn't sure what to expect.

what my expectations were met with, was brilliance.

rob bell opened with a story of two brothers and their families. one brother found out he and his wife were going to have a baby, but complications developed, and the family was called to the hospital with the bad news that the baby was lost. shortly after that, the other brother announced that his wife was pregnant, and months later, the family was again called to the same hospital, but this time they were welcoming a new baby into their family.

the point? we live our lives in hallways, between rooms of tragedy and rooms of joy.

mr. bell goes on to say that we know that tragedy happens, and the important thing is not to ask why it happens, but instead, 'now what?' changing perspective from the tragedy or life-altering situation to the future, even if it now becomes a future that we didn't previously imagine. 'suffering,' he says, 'forces us to revise the plans we've made for ourselves.'
none get to God but through trouble.
~catherine of aragon
one of the most powerful moments of the evening for me was when we were each asked to write in our non-usual hand the words 'i know how you feel' on an index card. then, he asked that anyone who had stood by the graveside of a loved one hold up their card. with the reality of having done so only days ago, i held my card up hesitantly, fearing that once again i might lose to the overwhelming emotions of the past few days.

but, as you would expect, most of the people in the room were also holding up their cards as well. we were instructed to make eye contact with someone and exchange cards with them.

then we were asked to hold up the card we now held if we've ever stared down a stack of bills that we had no idea how to pay. make eye contact, and exchange cards.

if you, or someone you know has ever battled an addiction. eye contact. exchange.

if you have ever been betrayed. ditto.

all these situations that we feel so alone in, and here we were standing in a room filled with people with similar experiences. but not the experiences we want to talk about. we're much more comfortable talking about the good things, our successes, our acquisitions, our travels... and yet, the one thing we all have in common, regardless of age, race, paycheque size, is that we have all faced heartbreak, lost dreams, tragedy.

one other quote that stood out to me was this:
this, too, will shape me.
~rob bell
every situation we would rather not face will shape us. it will close us, or it will open us. it will make us bitter, or it will make us better. the thing we too often forget is that we are the ones with the power to choose the outcome.

sometimes we find ourselves in the tragedy room. sometimes the joy room. more often than not we're in the hallway blissfully unaware of the next room we will visit.

where are you today?


AJ Martin said...

I was waiting for this post, and you did not disappoint. Thanks for giving us a glimpse of what you connected with.
Funny how he said the same thing to everyone, but my take away was vastly different from yours.

rogER said...

Just wanted to tell you that the words of your experience at the DLS show moved me ... probably because it made me live out that same DLS experience here in Grand Rapids. It's AMAZING how in your moment of grief you can feel so alone, and it takes a simple exercise like writing words on an index card (with your non-dominant hand) and then exchanging those cards with strangers, just to show that you truly are not alone in your experience. "I know how you feel". Who knew that those 5 words had so much behind them. Thanks for bringing the memory of that night back once again.

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