Apparently the White House worked vigilantly to keep the visit a secret. The Corvallis PD received a gag order and was put on high alert; abandoning their brave fight against motorists who turn into the middle (as opposed to the nearest) lane. The airport declared “no comment” when questioned about the military 747 with United States of America printed on the wing, and parked on the runway amidst the usual stream of two-seater planes. And the motorcade of 15 black SUV’s with tinted windows barreling through the two-mile stretch of downtown certainly concealed any suspicion that someone important was in town.
Still the media was not fooled. News Channel 13 got a great picture of a tinted window and shadow of hair as the motorcade pulled in and out of a rural neighborhood near the golf course. The University newspaper did a bit better. They interviewed a guy who knows a guy who got to swim laps at the same time as the first daughter and her cousins.
Neighbors rode bikes, went for runs, hit the golf course; all in hopes of catching a glimpse, or a smile, or a wave. Locals speculated about where she might eat, or workout, and scouted places that they thought she might roam.
My life remained unphased by the hoopla . . .until Tuesday night. Tucked into bed watching Toddlers in Tiaras, I got a text message from my stepdad.
Your mom went to the bathroom and got probed.
A brief moment of disturbia passed, and then it hit me.
I texted back: mmm, perhaps you should reconsider the use of the word probed.
Turns out, my parents went to dinner at a local restaurant and Michelle joined them . . . twenty tables away and behind a curtain. They never actually saw her, but got scanned every time they used the restroom or breathed funny. I asked if she brought her own plate, but nobody laughed.
My stepdad had an in with the chef whom came to my parents’ table to disclose what the first lady ate, what wines she tasted, and the color of her dress. I am still considering selling the information to the tabloids. For now I will disclose that her grains took up more than a quarter of her plate and there was no milk in her cup.
While my stepdad only recalls the trauma of being frisked by the secret service in the alley (a little more dramatic each telling), my mom is still giddy about the whole thing. Her excitement enough to make you believe that her and the first lady are now BFFs. For her, just knowing that she was that close to someone that important makes her feel that special. Of all the restaurants in all the towns . . .
When Jesus rolled into town it was not in a motorcade, but sandal clad and dirty from the hike. He did not hide behind curtains at the King’s table, but ate with sinners and tax collectors. When He grew thirsty He did not sample wines, but sat at a well with a woman whom most men would not have dared to be seen with. He sat with her, conversed with her, ministered to her. Of all the wells in all the towns . . .
So you can imagine that woman’s excitement as she ran to her village declaring that she had met a man who had told her all she had done. She ran giddy knowing that she had been in the presence of someone important and that made her important too.
We daily have the opportunity to sit with Jesus through prayer and the Word. We have the privilege of conversing with someone really important. It is there that we find our value — there, where the God of the Universe invites us to dine at His table. We are important to God and that is enough.
Sure the rest of our day may be mundane. The First Lady will probably drive by without a wave. We will have moments of being used and abused. Days will come that it seems no one cares. Yet our value is not diminished nor determined by the appreciation of the world around us. Because every day, we dine with the Maker and the Savior.