~ notes from an uncommon journey ~

Rachel Held Evans and Me

I don't remember exactly when I first discovered Rachel Held Evans. But I've been reading and commenting on her blog for at least a year and a half. (Astute readers of this blog will know that hers has had a place in My Favorite Blogs: Christian Faith & Doubt every since I debuted this design.) And last year I read and loved her books, Evolving in Monkey Town and A Year of Biblical Womanhood. Her work, especially Evolving in Monkey Town, is instrumental in my beginning to think that Christianity might in fact be a very different thing from what I'd believed it to be for so long—not only from the legalist fundamentalism I was originally taught, but also from some of the more-disturbing aspects of the evangelicalism I shifted into during college.

Anyway, I've wanted to meet her for quite a while now, and the other night—finally!—I was able to make that happen. YAY!

She was speaking at a church in Louisville, KY, so I took a little road trip. Three hours of driving each way,  sometimes-blinding rain, a couple of backups (on a Sunday evening!), and a very late return--and it was entirely worth it. I'm so glad I did it.

Rachel came across in person to be exactly how she seemed from all of our interaction and from everything I've read and seen of her online. It felt like we already knew each other...I guess in a way we did.

But it still blew me away how incredibly sweet she was to me. From the moment we first actually met—in the bathroom!—to when, right after her talk, she asked if I could stay awhile, to near the end, when she said I could join her and her hosts for a late dinner (which I didn't, because I had to drive back) and bemoaned that we didn't have more time...she treated me like I was actually a friend of hers.

I mean, I had expected her to recognize me--like I said, we've been interacting for at least a year and a half, and as she pointed out, my comments on her blog always have my name and picture with them (thanks to my account with the comment system she uses on her blog). "That makes a big difference," she said.

But in my mind...I was a fangirl. And I figured she'd probably be all, "Hey, nice to meet you; thank you for coming," maybe a comment about our online interaction, sign the book, pose for the picture, and be done with it. And that would've seemed entirely reasonable to me.

I mean, she doesn't have to invest anything of herself in me. I'm just one of thousands of readers. But she made me a friend—clearly, she had already thought of me as one...and now, I think  of her as one too.

This pretty much says it all. ♥

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