We were wrapping up, cleaning up the space we had just littered with small plastic cups and wine bottles. Grabbing our jackets, getting ready to head to dinner, she asked us all to just wait.
Can I ask a favor of you all?
The lot of us plop back down to listen.
So, I’m leading Lectio Divina tomorrow morning.
(For those unfamiliar, it’s praying with scripture and it will be in front of all the school.)
I’ve not wanted to do this and I finally agreed.
And- I’m petrified.
Mumurs flow through the group, gently assuring her that we know she will be great.
The favor is this, she continues.
Will you all come in the morning and sit in the front row? Just sit and let me see your smiling faces.
She easily gets confirmation that we will do this. Even those of us who are on a different time zone and hate to wake up, ahem. We will show up to those front row chairs.
Fast forward to the blaring alarm at 6:50 am this morning. I roll out of bed, throw on a hoodie, brush my hair and make a quick bathroom stop.
I follow the slow moving, silent crowd down the hallway, towards the Holy Spirit Chapel. The lights are dim and up front the leader sits, waiting in her chair.
One front row seat is already filled with a familiar smiling face. A few more of us file in and take our place in those empty chairs.
A few more trickle in and most of the row is now filled, the chapel is ready.
We all showed up.
If I could describe this weekend away for me, I’d say it was like having my own front row filled. Slowly, not always silently, my friends filled those places and looked on me with loving smiles. A laugh, a hug, a story of their own. Not too many words to glue the broken parts of my life back together, but an assurance that I am deeply loved and not alone.
What more could I ask for?
So here’s my shout out to that front row in my life.
I see you smiling.