Little Rock — The Unexpected

My first day in Little Rock went nothing as planned. Little Rock? Yes. Every friend I chatted with before the trip asked why I chose Little Rock for my get-a-way weekend. The answer was simple. I headed down to visit some friends and with the hopes of asking on-air-talent Sheryl Lackey to consider hosting a new Internet show I’m developing. But, nothing went as planned.

The trip was supposed to start in Colorado with my friends the Andersens. Then I was to fly down to Little Rock Saturday night so I could meet with Sheryl today. However, my first flight got cancelled and I was forced to decide between Colorado and Arkansas. Since Al and his family had just visited with me last month, I decided to move my Colorado trip back.

I arrived in Little Rock yesterday with a great feeling that this would be a wonderful weekend. You might even say I was walking on air. Everything I was doing had a light and jovial spirit about me, but something told me that my new surroundings weren’t in agreement with my light hearted attitude.

It started with Avis not having may preferred number and redirecting me to the main counter to fill out forms. But I didn’t let it get me down. With fun still permeating my soul, I joyfully flipped my license and credit card onto the counter and dove in. Unfortunately, the gentleman helping me with the forms sternly shared that I didn’t have to “toss” my cards.

I told him that I meant no offense by it and wondered if the culture had changed since my previous business trips to Arkansas. Then again, maybe it was me. Having significant global experience in business, working for an international company with numerous cultures and attending a church with dozens of different nationalities, I tend to forget that some people are offended or skeptical at best when it comes to dealing with other races.

I arrived at my hotel and had to squint to see my way to the counter. The power was off indefinitely and I was told that I needed to find a new hotel. The storm Friday that took nine lives had taken out the power. One woman standing nearby, who took a lunch break from her Beth Moore conference, suggested that the sold out hotels would be opening up as the conference ended and people headed home. She pointed out that the basketball conference was also letting out that afternoon. What she didn’t know is that most people were vacationing on Saturday and returning home on Sunday, but I found a hotel on the outskirts of town with three rooms available.

Needles to say, I bumped into lots of men that were a foot taller than me and women who were spiritually pumped up from the Beth Moore conference. I heard so many positive things about her talks, that I felt like I had attended. Unfortunately, her conference was the one reason my meeting this morning with Sheryl was cancelled. She had been a part of the conference and was exhausted. Hopefully we’ll be able to connect in the afternoon for coffee.

Thanks to a series of other misunderstandings, my connecting with the guys from my days selling to SBC were also cancelled. However, one misunderstanding did give me the opportunity to meet filmmaker Nolan Dean. We had a great afternoon chat at a coffee haunt and I got to see some of his work. He was editing a new short documentary about a man who cheated on his wife and their experience approaching reconciliation.

The piece was well done and very moving. He had added enough space in the piece to give the audience a chance to feel the couple’s experience with fear, turmoil and hope. Nolan’s sense of timing and understanding of the human condition makes him a great filmmaker. He also has a good handle on story, which most filmmakers who are into technology lack. I’m confident we will be seeing more of his name in the future.

Since my plan to meet Sheryl for church in this morning turned into her recovering from the conference, I decided to take in a Saturday night service and use this morning to explore the area. I don’t recall the name of the non-denominational church I visited, but the one thing that stood out was it’s worship time.

The church altered it’s lights in keeping with the contemporary styled heartfelt music to create a sense of intimacy. While it was a time of corporate worship, it was also a time when each person could focus in, without thought for those around. There were no distractions, None.

My church keeps the lights up full and allows ushers during the first thirty minutes of our service to have people push past us to open seats in the middle of a row. Years ago our church had everyone shift toward the middle so anyone coming in late could simply slip in from the outside of the row undetected. It’s been a long time since I’ve worshiped without people climbing over me.

The service I visited was very casual. Even the teaching pastor wore jeans and chatted comfortably with guests. And, while it might have been a let down for any women who attended the Beth Moore conference, it was relevant to new seekers.

The best part of the weekend so far was being in a new place with new people and possibilities. I find that some of the best mini-vacations are just a change of scenery and pace. And trust me, Little Rock is both. Oh, and for you back at home, it is very green and warm down here.

Sent from my iPad

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