There they were!
The most beautiful tickets I had ever seen.
The most expensive tickets we had ever purchased for a single outdoor event.
I couldn’t wait to tell anyone who would listen, where we were going, what great seats we would have, and how I would be counting down the days.
It wasn’t long before I was counting all the things that were going wrong. I should have seen the warning signs, and got prayed up and prepared, especially after the computer crashed in the middle of the ticket purchase. But I had such tunnel vision, I couldn’t even entertain the thought, that this might not turn out the way I had always dreamed.
There were dress disasters, last-minute mail-order obstacles, alteration emergencies, work deadlines, a medical scare…even a death… and our family’s stress level was at peak performance.
But the clock kept ticking, the days flew by and it was finally time to go. We got there and found our section but for some strange reason we couldn’t find those great seats. We called for help and a young sales attendant was more than happy to tell us, “Oh your seats are inside. You will be watching on a television monitor.”
I don’t mind telling you. I am still such a big baby with so much more work for God to do in me, that this little piece of information brought me to my knees in what Oprah Winfrey would describe as “The Ugly Cry.” Forget that I was in the process of reading a Priscilla Shirer book about wilderness walking. This just can’t be happening…not now…not to me…not this event. This is too big…too important…I had waited too long. “I’ve given up other dreams, not this one, PLEASE God.”
Book: One in a Million
Title: “Why Me“
Quote:“Do we want the Promise Giver, or do we just want the Promised Land?”
Truthfully? Right now? THE PROMISED LAND! I know that’s wrong. I know that is not the answer God is looking for…but this is THE Promised Land…this is THE KENTUCKY DERBY! This is for my 50th birthday. The Bucket List. The #1 request before I die.
My husband, soul-mate and the one who keeps me accountable, reminds me God has a plan. I don’t really want to hear that…I just want this fixed because this HAS to be some sort of mistake. He makes calls, lots of calls. And finally a nice sales supervisor explains that these are some of the most desirable seats in Churchill Downs. “Yeah, sure they are,” I mumble through another wave of tears.
But wait a second; my husband is starting to smile. Hold the phone. It seems God does have a plan. You know He always does.
Fast forward my puffy face to race day.
A guest services guide, who was so sorry we were disappointed with the tickets, got special permission to take us up to the roof for the coveted Twin Spires photo. Thinking back, it was the one thing I had wished to come away with but had been told it would be impossible to get.
While the people from the outside, sitting in cold metal folding chairs, were coming in to fight the crowd inside, standing in line for an hour just to place a bet, getting food and trying to find a place to sit…we had plenty of room in our secured area, no lines, high back cushioned desk chairs and tables. There were giant television monitors where we could watch all the action up close until post time when we walked outside to overlook the finish line and watch the race from the clubhouse balcony .
But because of what seemed like a dream day disaster, we met and became fast friends with the ushers, the tellers and the security guards as the “human factor” of this famous “horse” race began to come into focus. I love how God works all things for good, how he has his hand on us when we don’t even know it. But I hate, hate, hate how I always seem to require a painful wilderness walk before I can let God do what God does when what He has planned is far more significant and so much more than expected.
Isaiah 49: 15-16 NIV
I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
James 1:17-18 NKJV
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of his own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.
Psalm 20:4 NKJV
May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.
To my dad, aunt, husband, son and friends who were dragged along with me on this particular wilderness walk…I concede I am still a work in progress. I hope by confessing my fleshly failings I have in no way diminished real world problems that I know are far more significant than a birthday bucket wish.
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