With Love, Laura Beth

Words from my heart

Awestruck Afternoon


In April 2012, I flew to Grand Rapids, Michigan to attend my first-ever writing conference. Why so far? A book led me there. Angry Conversations With God called my name one day while I strolled the aisles at Barnes & Noble. At first, the title disturbed me. I didn’t want to think about all the angry conversations I had ignited with God—or people I love—but the author was an actress-comedienne. A humorous book about anger? I bought it, read it, loved it. And like I do with all my books, I researched the author. I discovered that Susan E. Issacs would be speaking at the 2012 Festival of Faith & Writing. I knew I had to attend . . . I’m just glad I made it to Grand Rapids on schedule!

Journal entry #1: April 18, 2012 – 12:10 PM

Layover. Dallas Airport. Gate B29. This is the first official entry of my “Festival Journal.” I’ll type awhile, but my glasses broke so I’ll have to buy a new pair before take off.  (845 words later, I went to buy glasses)

Journal entry #2: April 18, 2012 – 8:05 PM (Holiday Inn, Grand Rapids)

OH MY GOODNESS!!! I almost missed my flight! I was in the store trying on glasses and wondering what kind of fashion statement to make when I heard, “Last call for Grand Rapids Flight 2839.” WHAT? Why didn’t my phone or computer make the time adjustment? Completely thrown off, I scrambled to pay for the glasses and rushed to board. What if I had typed longer? What if the store hadn’t been right across from the gate? I would have TOTALLY missed my flight! 

Relieved to be on the plane, I settled into 6A, yet immediately wished I had gone to the restroom before boarding. Like cabin air pressure, I had pressure building of my own and did NOT want to use the plane’s facility, especially since there was a guy sitting right there. I mean, talk about up close and personal! After an hour, I gave in and took the long, dreaded walk to the back. 

I stepped into the bathroom, made a quick turnaround, and looked for the light switch before closing the door—I didn’t want to be stuck in the dark. But where was the switch? I was lost without my glasses, so through squinty eyes, I leaned over to scope out the wall above the sink. Oh, that must be a light button. DING! Uh, oh—what happened? OH NO! I signaled the flight attendant. Still bent over, I turned my head and looked wide-eyed at the attendant as she announced for all to hear, “For the person needing assistance in the lavatory, close the door and lock it. The light will go on.” Ooooohhhhh! I flashed a sheepish thank-you smile as I pushed the door shut and locked it. Like magic, the light went on.

My adventure wasn’t over—the toilet wouldn’t flush. I needed it to flush! I know, I’ll make a prod out of paper towel. Frantically, I started pulling paper towels (I thought) from one of the dispensers. Dang it! Kleenex. Why didn’t I wear my glasses? The other dispenser had the paper towels, so I rolled some up and began poking the clog. YES! That did the trick—what a relief! Worn out from my little lavatory escapade, I returned to 6A and couldn’t wait to land.

When we arrived in Grand Rapids, I reached the baggage claim before everyone else. After a few minutes, I got nervous—where were all the other passengers? The woman at the Information Booth assured me I was in the right spot, so I continued to wait. All the sudden, a petite blonde woman on her cell phone whooshed by me and stopped two feet away. IT WAS SUSAN E. ISAACS!!!!

Inside CoverIn disbelief, I pulled Susan’s book from my backpack and held it up. Still on the phone, her eyes popped as she said, “Someone just pulled my book out of their bag!” The minute she hung up, I started crying and stammered, “You’re the reason I’m here . . . you’re the reason I’m here.” Susan hugged me and said, “It’s a God thing.” We chatted briefly, she signed my book with her purple pen, and then we said goodbye. What a moment! What an afternoon! 

And it wasn’t over. In my state of being awestruck, I forget my book—not once, but TWICE—before I arrived at the hotel. I had left it on the Information Booth counter when I called for shuttle service. A kind gentleman returned it to me at the shuttle stop. Then I left it in the shuttle! The driver knew where to find me, and delivered it to the hotel front desk. RELIEF-RELIEF-RELIEF, a day full of relief. Thank you, God! You got me to Grand Rapids, reminded me that you’re taking care of me, and tossed in one extra-special surprise . . . icing on the cake.

Time to go to bed.

My five-day Festival of Faith & Writing journey continued with only one additional mishap. I washed my hair with the complimentary conditioner instead of the shampoo. You’d think I would have learned that squinting doesn’t work.

I attended Susan’s workshop, yet our paths never crossed again. Her book had led me to Grand Rapids, and l will never forget meeting her at the airport—a divine affirmation of what I had known months earlier. I was meant to be at that conference, and I got there right on schedule.

I didn’t need glasses to see that.


6 comments on “Awestruck Afternoon

  1. Laura Beth
    October 14, 2014

    Thanks for the comment, Bailey! I hope we can visit each other someday, too! I love reading your blog and glad we can at least connect online 🙂

  2. Bailey
    October 14, 2014

    how did i miss this? i read susan’s book this summer and loved it! still would love to come visit you some day!!!!

  3. lbwramirez
    April 26, 2014

    Thank you, Shelly! 🙂

  4. Shelly
    April 25, 2014

    A delightful read! So glad you got to go to this conference, and have the thrill of meeting the author!

  5. lbwramirez
    April 23, 2014

    Thanks, Deb! 🙂

  6. Deb
    April 23, 2014

    Wonderful story, Laura Beth! I could just “see” everything transpire as I read.

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