Isn’t the crazed fan look on my face oh-so endearing? I already made this my new Facebook profile pic!
A dear friend informed me that Philip Yancey was speaking at Messiah College—a mere two hours away from the Lehigh Valley. Well, as you can imagine, I was all a’twitter (and I Twittered) with excitement. Of course, the event was a week away, so I had to make plans—pronto!
Dragging myself out of my depressive coma, I enlisted the help of best friend Sarah, who decided that we should make a day of it. So a day of it we did make, doing an Amy-style tour of the Gettysburg battlefields in the afternoon before Philip Yancey’s lecture. Believe me, you have not truly toured Gettysburg until you’ve gone with me (more on that over at Atypical Musings. Read “My Trip to Gettysburg“).
We got to the venue early, so I pulled out a Beth Moore book and started reading. After all, I had (and still have) a review to finish. Curiously, everyone else was reading a Philip Yancey book. Very strange.
The crowd was mostly middle-aged and older with a few young faces here and there. I definitely thought there would be a massive influx of college students who wanted to experience the awesomeness that is Philip Yancey. So, here’s a message for all my college-aged pals, if you have the opportunity to see Philip Yancey, go! Plus, if there’s a guy or gal you’ve been thinking about asking out, it would make a perfect date night (and if you’re a guy thinking about asking me out, taking me to see Philip Yancey would be the perfect first date. Go for it!)
As part of Messiah College’s centennial celebration, Philip Yancey was being featured as a keynote speaker. It’s one of those things that college boards and alumnae treasure, while students and the general public think, “OK, that’s great. We want to see Philip Yancey speak.” At least that’s what I was thinking. Finally, Philip Yancey took the stage, and I wanted to “Woot!” for him while everyone else politely clapped. Overcome by peer pressure, I stifled the “Woot!” rising up in my throat and I clapped, too.
Philip Yancey was just as I pictured him (because I’ve seen his picture), but he was definitely a lot funnier than I imagined. He spoke about prayer saying it allows us to invite God into our lives and it also invites us into God’s life. I loved what Yancey had to say but was slightly distracted by a tummy ache and some bad news on the home front. And I was scared half to death to meet the man face to face in the autograph line.
So after the lecture, Sarah dragged me through the crowded auditorium (converted gym) to the autograph, I mean “book signing” line. I asked Sarah how I looked about 50 times, fixed my hair 23 times, practiced smiling, and thought about what I would say. When I finally arrived at Philip Yancey, I went with a very cool, “Hey.” Pause. “I’m Amy.” No spark of recognition. I’m sure I’m the only Amy that Philip Yancey has ever encountered. “From Backseat Writer.” Eyebrows rose in what I hope was excitement. And Philip Yancey reached out and shook my sweaty palm as Sarah the bestest best friend anyone could ever had captured the moment with my camera. I did what any girl who was meeting her favorite author in all the world for the first time would do, I extended that handshake so Sarah could get a great shot.
Then Philip Yancey did something that shocked me as he signed Sarah’s book (because I forgot to bring one—duh!), he said, “This is Amy. She let me write on her blog.” OK, so technically he did a Take 5 (Read Take 5 with Philip Yancey) and it was basically a dream come true for me. But if he wants to think I let him do it, that’s quite alright. I would completely let him do it again…anytime.
As I bid Philip Yancey a kind farewell—something about how he hasn’t seen the last of me (I expect the restraining order to arrive at any moment)—I thought, “What a super guy!” And then I jumped up and down like a giddy school girl (or like a tween girl meeting the Jo-Bros) because I had met Philip Yancey…and I don’t think I said anything stupid either. But you’ll have to ask him about that.
A shout out to the Gehmans–I also ran into my good friends at the event—Cath, T.J., and Sarah Gehman—which made me happy, too. The Gehmans are warm, quirky, and amusing. I just love them!