- Posted on: 17 October 2008
- By: Jamie Tworkowski
We've been to Atlanta, Omaha, and Indiana (Taylor University) for events in the last week, and i was away in Europe for a week before that. It's good to be home for a couple days. As for Omaha, we have a good friend there named Chris Heuertz. Chris leads an organization called Word Made Flesh and once a month in downtown Omaha, the WMF folks open their doors for a "Beggars Society" meeting. Each month, someone is invited to lead a discussion centered around one of the WMF core values. For this month's meeting, i was invited to talk about TWLOHA and to speak on the topic of suffering.
Byron came with me and this was our second trip to Omaha - we were there last December when i was asked to speak at a concert a few days after the WestRoads Mall shooting. Both of these invitations brought up similar feelings (and insecurities) for me: humbled, not qualified, "what do you say?", etc.
What do you say when there's a girl in the room whose mother was shot and killed while buying Christmas presents?
What do you say when you're asked to talk about suffering - do you tell them you were just on vacation in Europe?
Sunday night in Omaha turned out to be a really meaningful night for me - it sort of changed some of what i had been feeling about "speaking" (or "public speaking"). This night made me feel like maybe i can just be myself and be honest in that setting, that maybe i was never meant to look or sound like everyone else... and finally, i think it reminded that i truly enjoy telling stories and seeing people find something in the words.
i told several stories in Omaha, one about a conversation i had in France last week, one funny story about almost meeting Bono... i close with a story about my friend Elisha who lives in South Carolina. Elisha had a brain aneurysm when he was 9 - he is 25 now, is in a wheelchair, has a really hard life. The talk basically ends with me confessing that i don't understand the questions that my friend Elisha is forced to live with, i don't understand why his life has to be so hard... and that maybe there are a lot of things we won't understand this side of Heaven.
Perhaps more than anything, the talk is about the idea that we all live with questions, we can all relate to pain, we all get stuck... and we aren't meant to live alone under the weight (and silence) of our questions. It seems we're meant to share our questions, to invite other people into the broken parts of our life, and to learn to meet our friends in the difficult places in their lives as well.
To listen to the Omaha talk, you just need to click here.
The audio quality is poor early on but gets better and is super clear by the Q&A at the end. The recording is basically three parts:
1. me talking
2. conversation with Chris Heuertz
3. Byron and i answering questions from the audience
(Byron is Byron Cutrer, TWLOHA Director of Operations)
We had a really amazing night at Taylor in Indiana (last Tuesday) as well. 800 people showed up, from as far away as Michigan and Ohio!!! It was another night that meant a lot to me personally and really gave me a lot to think about. Between Omaha and Indiana, i came home super encouraged, and really excited about bringing our message on the road.
On that note...
We'll be hitting the road next month for a short tour with the goal being more nights like the ones that just happened in Omaha and Indiana. The tour will be roughly two weeks between Boston and Georgia, mostly small rooms (coffee places) in college towns. Our talented friend Josh Moore will be playing solo acoustic, i'll be speaking and then our favorite part is that each night will end with questions and conversation.
More on that in the next couple days. For now, we hope you'll check out the Omaha talk and we hope you have a great weekend.
Peace to you.
PS: There's some new stuff available in the Online Store.
PS2: Here's that link (Omaha talk) again - you just have to click here.