Hiding my crown.

9 Nov

Words cannot express how amazing this particular Sunday was, and now that I think of it… words cannot really express how incredible New Orleans is. But I will do my best to describe what happened this day in attempts of explaining what is at the essence of New Orleans.

A few weeks ago, Allison, Jillian (my lovely roommates) and myself were hanging out at the New Orleans Blues and BBQ festival, and God had something to say to us.

As we were sitting in the grass listening to music, a man in a wheel chair named Ronald came up to us and told us he had the gift of spontaneously creating poetry and asked if he could share something with us.

I have to admit… I thought to myself, “Oh man, here we go… this guy is gonna bust out some amateur rap and then ask us for money”…. but we agreed to hear what he had to say and sat uncomfortably anticipating what was coming next.

He called his spontaneous poetry Three Queens. His voice then flowed into this rhyming, rhythmic, beautiful story. He never hesitated or paused, and his passion was as clear as the nose on his face. It was almost as if you could see the ideas dance in the sky as they made their way to Ronald, and watch the words leave his mouth and swirl like smoke as they became one with the New Orleans night air. His talent was breathtaking, and his story brought tears to our eyes.

We did not record Ronald’s poetry, and his story will never be said or heard again, which I think is appropriate… God spoke through Ronald directly to us.

Here is my best attempt to share with you the gift Ronald gave us:

His story was about three queens who decided to remove their crowns, leave their castle, and go out into the outside world. Soldiers were scouring the kingdom in search for the missing queens. Ronald talked about how he came across the three lost queens one day… he was first drawn in by this unique light shining from these three women and then realized that these were the queens everyone was in search for. Even without their crowns, he could see something was special about them.

Soldiers were interrogating towns people and came to Ronald to force him to tell them where the queens were. He confessed to the soldiers that he had seen the queens, but he felt the soldiers should leave the queens alone. He explained to the soldiers that the queens were just trying to have a day where they could put away their crowns, and just be. So the soldiers took Ronald’s advice and ended their search of the queens.

It was a beautiful story.

Ronald told us he felt like the three of us, Allison, Jillian, and myself, were these queens that had decided to hide our crowns. Being drawn in by a special light from us, he was inspired, and had to share this vision with us.

We never told him we were volunteers. We never told him that we were here serving the city he called home. He just saw some kind of light from us, and he felt compelled to tell us what he saw. He finished saying that he wanted us to know us we are beautiful. He asked for nothing in return, and simply said goodnight and was gone.

It’s true that sometimes as a young adult volunteer you grow weary of talking about your volunteer work, and hearing people be impressed and thankful for you giving up a year of your life…. or for sacrificing so much.

In a way people place these crowns on your head, and the attention becomes focused on your crown and not the one you are serving. Although you love what you do, you want to not be spoken to as some sort of saint, or placed up on a pedestal for this decision you’ve made in your life. The truth is you just want to be, and not be built up or treated differently from anybody else.

When my roommates and I go out, it’s an opportunity to experience the city and take a break from all the things that make a YAV year seem some how different from real life. It’s an opportunity to just be.

This night, it was as if God just came rolling through and wanted to tell us that we were valued and beautiful and to simply enjoy what this amazing city had to offer.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to put into words what this year has meant to me so far, and how in love I am with this city… but that won’t keep me from trying. Stay tuned.

After I wrote this post, I read what my roommate, Allison, had to say about this experience. It’s amazing how God spoke to us in such similar ways, but also that he had something unique to tell each of us through the same story. (Click here to read her blog entry)

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One Response to “Hiding my crown.”

  1. Jeanne Solock November 9, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    Lauren, you are amazing! I knew that God had a plan for you and your life, but WOW, what an experience. God bless all of you on your journey.

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