One of my coworkers never lets her car get below a quarter of a tank of gas.
It is a great policy to have. I always intend to stop and fill up, but it just doesn’t seem to work out that way. Little things steal my time until my car is in the red. On empty. And I’m forced to rearrange my schedule to get gas.
Saturday morning at Hutchmoot, everything caught up with me. Weeks of stress. Late nights. The long drive to Nashville. Days of running around tending to details. Answering question after question. Being around people non-stop.
When a request to close the door left me ready to explode, I knew there was a problem. Me. I hadn’t recognized the flashing lights warning me that I was low on gas and needed to refill until it was almost too late. So I escaped to the Bilbo Baggins Birthday tent (as named by Ashley Thomas). In the pre-breakfast hour, it was just what I needed. Peaceful. Beautiful. But most of all, quiet.
For a long time, I just sat staring at the trees. I cried. I thought about Psalm 136 that I read earlier that morning. Every other line is “his love endures forever”, but it is kind of hard to think about enduring love when you are running on fumes. I told God that I appreciated his love, but right then I would prefer that he put some arms with it because I just needed a hug. I waited a few minutes, thinking that the Lord would dramatically send someone out the door to give me a hug. It didn’t happen.
After a while, a friend came out with her breakfast. Soon others joined her. Rather than rush back to work, I stayed with them and enjoyed the conversation. It was enough to give me the energy to work again.
Randy Goodgame stopped me to talk for a couple of minutes at the end of lunch. As we finished, he asked, “Could I give you a hug?” I nodded with tears in my eyes and told him my prayer from the morning. He replied, “Could I give you another hug then?”
That wasn’t the end of my hugs that day. Lindi Roughton. Ashley Barber. Lewis Graham. And so many others. Abundance, that is the best way to describe it. Filled to the point of overflowing.
Some people are just huggable. I’m not. I am very warm and caring, but I have years’ worth of walls built to protect myself from rejection. Invisible, but they are there. I don’t want those walls anymore. I think that it is in being vulnerable that we become real. But the remnants of the walls are still there.
I only say that to show you that all my Saturday hugs were not a result of anything I did. They were a physical manifestation of Psalm 136. “His love endures forever.” I thought my prayer wasn’t answered because I didn’t get a hug within a minute. It took a whole 12 hours for my answer to fully come. Oh me of little faith.
The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.” Numbers 11:23