Over ten years ago my friend, Kristy and I went to Chicago to visit a friend and we tried every scheme imaginable to get in to the Oprah show. We wrote to the show together, we wrote individually, we pleaded, we cajoled but in the end? No dice. We just didn’t have enough advance notice on our trip and the show times when we were going to be in town were all filled up. Another time, we said.
Oprah was my main show during my post-college years. I worked from home and I watched it every day at 4 o’clock. It was my thing. And sometimes Kristy got off work early enough to swing by my house on the way home and watch it with me. The rest of the time she recorded it and we’d talk about it later.
I used to pontificate and wax poetic to Jason about my theology of Oprah and recapped show after show for him. There are two episodes that stand out for me still today. Everybody Has a Story from 2003 where Oprah gave a few ordinary people a chance to tell their story. Maya Angelou says that there is no greater burden that bearing an untold story inside of you. Oprah gave these folks a chance to explore and share their stories. What a gift.
And Finding Forgiveness from 2004 when Oprah showed “restorative justice” in action. She highlighted the work of the Resolve to Stop Violence Project and brought victims together with the criminal who had changed their lives in the hope of bringing some healing to both parties. It was radical then and it’s still radical now. A completely different way to approach incarceration and rehabilitation.
With her show and her life, Oprah pulls people in and makes people feel like they are part of something. She enables people, women in particular, to see that we’re all in this gig together. Regardless of whether or not you like or agree with her philosophies or her beliefs, she inspires people to live well and to seek the good of others. That’s why people love and admire her so. And I can’t help but think that the Church could learn a few things from her.
After we moved to Seattle we no longer had cable and I no longer worked at home. So my Oprah viewing was spotty at best. And I no longer had Kristy close at hand to debrief and talk through all things Oprah with me. But I’ve remained an avid fan and when I heard she was coming to Seattle for her The Life You Want tour, I immediately scoured the web for tickets. The cost of the tickets, though, derailed me a bit and without Kristy or another Oprah-loving friend to tag along, it seemed extravagant to spend solely on myself.
Every time I passed the Seattle Center, though, and saw Oprah up on the billboard I’d think, “oooooohhhhh, maybe I should just go by myself.” But I just didn’t have the heart to buy a solo ticket so I let it go. Maybe some other time, I told myself.
Last night I got a call from my friend, Shannon. She asked if I was still interested in going to see Oprah (it’s possible that I’ve mentioned my Oprah love from time to time). I said yes v e r y slowly and then she said, “Well, the other gals from Esperanza (the community group I lead at our church on Thursdays) and I want to send you to the Oprah show if you’re still interested. We’ve all pitched in and we’re buying you a ticket.”
I was actually speechless for a few seconds.
I’m going to see Oprah! It turns out it’s actually a two day affair (which better explains the ticket prices) so I had to finagle a few things but it’s happening and I cannot wait! I am going by myself and it does feel a little lonely, I’ll admit, but think about it: I’m sort of getting an evening and an entire day to myself. An introvert’s dream! And besides, did I mention OPRAH? Enough said.
Time to go
throw everything out of my closet figure out what to wear.
Thanks again, friends — I am beyond excited.
And Kristy, I’ll be thinking about you tonight. Can’t wait to tell you all about it.