Recently, I was emailed by a local woman regarding the editing of my book, Thank You Kung Fu. She said my story had been on her mind for nearly a month, so she offered to edit my book for free. So sweet of her. I replied and told her how nice she was and she could gladly edit one the of the public chapters on my blog and send me her edits. Typically, when people volunteer to edit it never works out, but when I saw her edited pages I saw she totally got it! It was fantastic! I called her up to meet with her at The Sparrows where I learned she has a doctorate in Philosophy, teaches ethics at a university, and is working on her own book. She’s brilliant! Can we say God is good one more time?!
So last week when I called to meet her, I learned she was actually going to the Storyline Conference in Chicago. And I thought, why am I not going?!? So, I made up my mind to go at about midnight, only nine hours before the Story Conference started. She offered to drive me there which was a valuable six extra bonus hours with my editor. We had a lovely trip as we threw around ideas for both of our books.
When we arrived, it was so good to be back with Don and his Story team. Everyone who works there is so ridiculously nice and generous. I just love them all. This is a slightly different conference from Don’s monthly StoryBrand so Don was using all these tried-and-true StoryLine jokes. It was fantastic to see him truly enjoy speaking through these brilliant ideas.
The first speaker was Jeremy Cowart. This was the second time I’d seen him use this particular presentation and, again, he just nailed it. He talks about how was never good at anything, even showing actual elementary school grades and progress reports that… well, he said it so I will as well… sucked. He was always the dumbest kid in class. Jeremy wasn’t good at anything. Until he found his camera. If you know his story, he went on to photograph celebrities, create new photos to inspire hope for the Haitians after their earthquake (which later went on to raise over $10 Billion from the U.N.), photos showing reconciliation between tribes in Rwanda, officially photographing the Pope on his recent visit to the U.S., and his newest, See University where he teaches, as he says, everything he knows. So that was the second time I cried during his remarkable presentation and the first time I cried at StoryLine '15.
Next up, two guys get on stage. Justin is in a wheelchair and introduces the audience to his friend, Patrick. They go on to tell a breath-taking story of life-long friendship that started by being born just hours from each other in the same hospital. They grew up being each other’s best friends and confidants. Justin, the man in the wheelchair, had suffered through an incredibly rare disease that left the muscles in his body limp and unable to move. His battle with this disease had nearly lost his will to live, but while watching TV, he heard of El Camino de Santiago, the 500 mile pilgrim’s walk across Spain. He brought this idea up to his friend, Patrick, and asked, “Could we do this?” Patrick, without hesitation, responded, “I’ll push you.” (Yes, that’s me over there loudly weeping in the audience). They went on to film this trip where Patrick did indeed, push his best friend Justin’s wheelchair across the country of Spain. They documented the trip, appropriately named, “I’ll Push You” and are currently editing it. But you just have to go see their trailer. It’s phenomenal.
And then we ended with the emotionally incontinent and human fireworks show, Bob Goff. Every time we see each other he makes several comments likening Lori and I’s breeding habits to rabbits. I’ve heard his stories so many times, but you know what? I’d willingly listen to them over and over again and cry each and every time. His stories of diplomatic immunities, New Year’s Day parades, piloting back and forth to his incredible cabin, “Malibu”, in British Columbia, and convicting the first witch doctor in all of Uganda BEFORE he starts a school for them so they can learn how to read! And in full Bob fashion, he used a few moments to show us how to hypnotize a chicken.
Bob Goff has been incredible to me, and when you read my book you'll see how. So many times he swooped in to serve as my (Storyline term:) "guide". I love you, Bob and I thank you for your love in return. People get bent out of shape over this and that, but the best thing Bob knows to do is to love people in return and he’s damn good at it. I feel strange for saying this, but as far as I can tell, he is the best representation of Jesus in my life. I simply don’t know another person who loves the way Bob loves.
Every time I go to these events I am always smiling and hugging and meeting new people, but deep down I’m heartbroken. I’m cursing myself. I’m so angry. Why? Because I still wasn’t telling my story. So this year, I loved the fact that the work waiting for me at home was the telling of my own story. It was incredible to know I have finally found my passion, I am walking my Camino, and I am learning that Love, indeed, Does.