I have to say, my expectations of how this concert thing was going to work out were quickly being squleched within 10 minutes of arriving. To give a little background, Michele and I were the first people to contact the production manager about Mark Schultz giving a concert in Bend. In fact, he was surprised we even found his number (accessed from Mark Schultz's website). Michele was the person to talk to him directly and he seemed like a great guy, really willing to work with us, and able to give us a sweet deal if we had a group of 10 or more.
We took him up on his offer, rounded up 20 people and sent the money in and received tickets in return. All seemed to be fine. This last week, when I was going through the tickets, I found a random ticket that didn't belong to us, so I emailed the guy and he appreciated the heads-up, and then informed us of some changes to the group ticket issues. That had me concerned, so I emailed back to make sure we'd be taken care of - and he emailed again guaranteeing me that our seats would be reserved and clearly marked.
Fast forward to this evening, and what do you know - the seats indicated on our ticket did NOT exist. Fortunately, we were the first to arrive out of our group of 20 and had some time to track down the production manager (let's just say his greeting to me was not as enthusiastic as it had been via email). He knew he had screwed up, and by the look on his face, he didn't seem to have any idea how to fix it. A bit of a problem..... Long story short, after John trailing him for ten minutes, we got moved to the right side of the room and further back than I'd hoped, and split into 2 rows. I had to tell myself, better than nothing, but pretty much I was just plain angry that we'd gotten really messed over. To his benefit, he claims that Riverhouse messed everything up with their changing of the room arrangements... whatever.
So, as the concert began, and this amazing violin player played one of my favorite pieces from a Christmas Amy Grant album "Highland Cathedral" - I had to tell myself to chill and enjoy the moment. It's a hard thing for me to let go of times when people have let me down - and that my expectations were not even close to being met - I felt like it was a battle I had to win or the night would be lost. Fortunately, little Ellie, Mikayla, and Jodi's Car-Car didn't have a clue that the seats should have been any better than what we had - they just delighted in dancing, swaying, and being held by John and I. It was so very precious.
The music was phenomenal - the worship moments very special. I felt like the intermission time and length of time given to promotion of World Vision (don't get me wrong - love the idea, but felt like the video did a super job so the additional 10-15 minutes of explanation by one of the band leaders seemed a little long) - really chopped up the performance. Mark Schultz was awesome, I was especially thankful that Mikayla woke up at the end when he sang "Letters from War" and "She Was Watching" - special songs with both Mommy and Daddy that she'll remember. Because, by the end, almost all of the kids had slept during some point of the concert.....
In light of that, John and I kept going back and forth as to whether or not we should try to see Mark Schultz (by hanging otu at the autograph table). John had felt like he'd made a real connection with the guy at Mens' Round-Up, but also realized that Mark meets so many thousands of people, John wasn't sure he'd remember him. So, we stood a few feet in front of the autograph table, waited a very long time for him to show up, and hoped maybe he'd recognize John and we could get a "moment". It was one of those things John wanted to do for me, and I wanted for John - so we really tried to encourage each other that whatever happened was okay. When Mark didn't seem to notice John, I ended up getting in the back of the line, we'd waited that long - what's another half hour? A few minutes later, I hear "Stephanie" shouted really loud by John - and yes, sure enough, I race back to my honey, and there he is - chatting with his ol' buddy, Mark. Mark looked at me, put his arms out to hug me, and told me he remembered chatting with me on the cell phone. OK, all was made well in the world. Apparently, when Mark looked up and finally noticed John, he immediately stopped the autographs and stepped away to talk to John - to me, that was worth more than the picture, just for John to know that they had made a connection - I had a hard time believing John could end up being so forgetable! =)
So, despite the rough start - it was a very happy ending - thank you for a great evening Mark Schultz - and Praise God!