Monday, March 10, 2008

Kyrie Eleison.

Chad & I both wish that we could have scooped up every reader here and taken you with us to the Mark Schultz/Kyrie's Gift concert this past weekend in Holland, MI. Amazing. The spirit of that night has been circling into every thought we've had since returning.

Firstly, Holland is an absolutely darling, lakeside town. Built by Dutch immigrants, Holland juxtaposes Lake Michigan, and we must have heard nearly 1,000 times that the summer--oh, the summer!--is the time to experience Holland at its best. The sun, the beaches, the saltwater taffy, the friendly people. However, arguably, this weekend was, for us, Holland at its best.

Flying from K.C. to Chicago and Chicago to Grand Rapids and driving from Grand Rapids to Holland, we checked into the Doubletree Hotel (Thank you, Doubletree, for sponsoring the concert! Our stay was impeccable and your support so generous.) to find a lovely welcome package from Kyrie's Gift: a collection of local specialties and a welcome note that we will treasure forever.

Then we made arrangements to meet Margorie & Leslie for the very first time in the lobby. You may wonder, and many of you have, how is it possible for a group of perfect strangers to have taken Kyrie into their hearts on a such a powerful level that they are inspired to create another non-profit in her name? How can one photo of Kyrie coloring spawn a major initiative to donate coloring books to hospitals' pediatric units? How is this true?

I can tell you that Margorie has been blessed with copious amounts of empathy. This gift has allowed her to care for another during a time when her own health was compromised, to care for a child, for a family and for a cause that most would have politely moved past. Compassion is as natural to her as her breathing. And since birds of a feather flock, it's understandable that those in her circle of friends and family have mighty shares of empathy and benevolence, too.

Something else, though, that Margorie, Jeff, Leslie, Lee and every other member and volunteer with Kyrie's Gift has is the gift of eagerness. There are no excuses here, only enthusiasm to do something. What can we do right now? What can we do next? Like the subtitle of this blog says, "goodness in action" personifies their endeavors. Margorie is spiritually responsive and quick to care, no questions asked. So amazing.

How many times do we get nudged or invited but opt to pass? She has taken this call and soared with it. As a mother of two young boys, she is an incredible example of combining motherhood and this newly inspired vocation.

Upon meeting, the hugs were long and the conversations tearful, yet we were all stirring with anticipation for the coming hours.

The Central Wesleyan Church in Holland is a massive construct. Housing worship, education, a children's center and a coffee shop, this venue was a welcoming spot for guests. (Thank you Central Wesleyan for hosting this event! A beautiful space for a beautiful cause.)

The foyer was packed with sponsors' tables and merchandise for all things Mark Schultz as people lined up in the frigid Michigan cold, waiting for the doors to open.

The sanctuary was filled with stretches of pews underneath a balcony of even more pews. The alter, redressed for Mark's performance, was flanked on either side with projection screens, which displayed a PowerPoint presentation showcasing the sponsors and explaining Kyrie's Gift.

Chad & I helped sell merchandise for a while, then we each were able to sit through the PowerPoint as guests took their seats. Tears rolled at the culmination of so much work, so much care, so much sadness and so much hope. Margorie was there for a perfectly timed hug, which, to me, symbolized this whole journey with her & Kyrie's Gift.

Then, it was time to take our seats--in the front row. Lights dimmed and POW!--the music began.

Mark's talent is truly genuine. Song after song was burgeoning with meaning and intent, and Margorie had specifically chosen Mark as a result of his cover of Kyrie Eleison-—a sign that made him stand out among other options.

Admittedly, some lyrics were difficult to hear, yet there was something soothing about hearing them in a crowd of 1,700 people there to hear these songs with us and to help Kyrie's Gift.

After the concert, a line snaked around a long winding hallway as Mark gave autographs to everyone who wanted one.

One group of young girls was thrilled, I mean the kind of thrilled that makes 10-, 11-, 12-year-old girls shriek and squeal and giggle, to meet Mark. At the very end of this river of people, Margorie introduced us to Mark, and we shared our thanks as well as Kyrie's story.

Then we took a few snapshots before heading into the night air, reeling from all the good done that night.

Oh--one important note! Although Lacie & Jordan couldn't be there in person, Margorie & Mark's manager arranged for them to view via Web cast! They saw the whole thing: the slideshow, the announcements, the concert and the post-concert entertainment, which consisted of us on our cell phone with Lacie & Jordan, running back & forth across the sanctuary, peering into lenses, trying to figure out which camera was Web casting.

The next morning, we were warmly greeted into Jeff & Margorie's home as we visited about the event, got to know one another better and shared stories from this past year and beyond. Lee & Leslie, who were to leave for Wichita early that morning, made a surprise visit back to the house after their flight was in jeopardy of being cancelled due to weather. Another day in Holland! And another chance for us to share with people who have taken to Kyrie so fondly.

Here's another important note, literally: Kyrie's Gift generously donated 10% of their monies raised from the concert to the Kyrie Foundation! So wondrously generous. What a humbling experience to be united in word & deed to such goodness.

We're still in awe frankly. To Holland, thank you for responding so magnificently to Mark & to Kyrie's Gift. To the sponsors, businesses take on character just as individuals do. Thank you for showing the entire community just how caring business can be. To Mark Schultz, thank you for providing a means to raise resources and a means to affect the spirit. And to Kyrie's Gift, thank you for dedicating yourselves for the last year to Kyrie's memory, thank you for opening your hearts so generously to Lacie, Jordan, their families and their friends, thank you for the overwhelming hospitality and thank you lifting our whole community of family & friends up in your thoughts, prayers and actions. Kyrie—oh, Lord, we are truly blessed by your friendship here on this earth.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Meg, thanks for using your gift of words to paint a picture for us all that were unable to attend. I know I told you that I'd be right there with you...and now I feel like I was! :)

Thanks to everyone in Holland, this just goes so far beyond amazing...thank you.