The best thing on this particular trip that happened to me, in regard to my fear of traveling alone, was on Saturday. Paula Schmitt, the editor of Mom Writer's Literary Magazine, and I had some down time before a product swap meet, so we browsed the Expo Hall on the lower floor of the Sheraton. Paula turned out to be even sweeter than I expected, and I felt very comfortable spending the day with her. Chevrolet was in the Expo with new cars. The next thing I know, we were in a brand new Chevy Traverse, and I was driving the streets of Chicago. Poor Paula was my passenger. Then we got lost. There was no car salesman with us, but we did have a map. Paula was video taping the whole thing for The Momma Vlogs, and I felt really nervous. So we both started laughing, since there wasn't anything else we could do. After 25 minutes of driving around in circles, we made it back to the parking garage, the vehicle unscathed. I can't tell you how great I felt after stepping out of that car. I got lost in an unfamiliar place, in a car that was not mine, and nothing happened. I lived and found my way back to where I was supposed to be. This was a colossal event for Loren, as simple as it might seem to those of you who are well-traveled.
Then we went to a party together and it was wall-to-wall people. I discovered that some bloggers who have written books and have lots of web traffic are famous, or think they are. This puzzled and amused me slightly. The sides of the room were filled with booths showing off products of interest mostly to mothers/women in general. I met Nina from the Sprout Goodnight Show and she autographed a picture for the kids. I told her that she is in my den every night, and her face lit up.
At another table a woman with a camera stuck a white board in front of my legs, wrote my twitter ID next to them and took a picture for a contest. Well, I did not win anything, and I’m wondering where the image of my legs is now.
The whole social aspect of my trip made me start to wonder why I blog in the first place, and there were times that I was asked to describe Dude, Where Am I?
I think grace means a sense of peace that comes from God. A person can be in a state of grace or out of a state of grace. When I let mean comments and situations that I perceive to be hurtful to me throw me out of whack emotionally, and my actions reflect my negative feelings, then I am out of grace. When I am in grace situations and people cannot pull me down.
Even a person who reads the lives of the saints, the Bible and tries diligently to know God can mess up and behave badly. Last week in my post “Driveway Rage” I asked myself why I had freaked out over the truck blocking my driveway, and I had trouble understanding my actions. The more I thought about how angry and ungraceful I was at that moment, the worse I felt about it.
On the plane to Chicago I was thinking about the way I felt while reading a book I had to review for The Catholic Company called Hunting for God, Fishing for the Lord. The author, Rev. Joseph Classen writes about how we can recognize and grow closer to God through nature. One line in particular really struck me.
“Peace and quiet is the heart of prayer.” Rev. Classen writes.
Rev. Classen goes on to point out that there were times in Jesus’ life when he went into a place of complete solitude, like a desert. So when I settled in the hotel room I did that for a few hours. I took a half hour long shower and spent time in silence sitting in an armchair staring down at the red, yellow green and white lights flashing in the road fourteen floors below. Later, on my adventures around the city I sat watching birds play in a fountain for a while in the courtyard of a famous Presbyterian Church on N. Michigan Avenue. For the first time in several weeks, I felt truly relaxed. I made some great connections on this trip and learned a bit about blogging, but most importantly, I returned home feeling a little bit more confident, having stolen some quiet time to get reacquainted with myself.