Iloilo Hello (Part 2)
Blitzkrieg isn't a very wholesome term, but that's the word that pops out when I remember my Iloilo trip. It was like storming five places in rapid succession.
Book blitz it was, and I pray that the people whom I reached are a little better because of it. I am definitely better—more encouraged to reach and meet as many readers as I could. Bonding with them, feeling their palms, made me realize that a writer and readers are one.
In all three schools, I talked twice—first for the younger kids and second for the older ones. I actually asked for it. Initially, one school had all the children (pre-school to high school) assembled in one hall. I thought that talking to all would be like talking to none.
Division done, connection made—on to book signing. Kids make heart wrenching remarks and ask mind boggling questions.
Next stop: adults.
They were a totally different breed. Unlike children, they hold back and censor their thoughts, but just as warm. The seminar for singles drew a crowd of over 150, a few of whom are Compassion college scholars studying in Iloilo; it was great to see about a dozen of them there. The Q and A matched my whole talk in length.
The teachers' seminar made me marvel anew at these noble professionals who love spending time—beyond what is required—with children. One of the attendees, a white-haired senior citizen, said she will never retire.
All book talks and seminars done on day three, I retreated to my room to pack. One last talk in a church the next day and then to the airport.
“Tired?” Angel 1, Lynnie, asked.
“Never,” I said, winking at Angel 2, Christine.
They both hied off to the mall and brought me home a packed dinner.
One hour later, my tummy was churning and burning, which I thought a good sleep would cure.
But at two in the morning, I woke up woozy, as though my stomach moved to my neck. I almost didn't make it to the bathroom. I wretched and wretched and wretched, and out came my dinner in spattering installments. After more wretching, debasing the pristine bathroom in the process, I felt like I ran around our village a hundred times, totally spent.
Me: Lord, are you telling me to rest?
Me: Lord, is this my last day on earth?
Me: Will you enable me to do my talk tomorrow?
Cleaning up my mess, careful not to wake up Angel 1, Lynnie, took all the energy I had left. All zonked out, I barely crawled back to bed.
At seven AM, only half of me woke up. Towing my luggage, Angels 1, Angel 2, and I took a cab to church. I did my talk and signed books before the three of us rushed to the airport.
After strapping on my seat belt, I went out like a light, nudged only by my seatmate when it was time to deplane.
Home at last; some soup, then off to bed—all of 12 hours.
Waking up still weak to a new day, I was able to do the chores I had left behind. God had answered my questions the night before!
God: Yes, I am telling you to rest; blitzkrieg is over.
God: No, this is not your last day on earth; not yet.
God: Yes, I will enable you to talk in church; and you will.
Can grace ever be explained?