I have always felt like Amy and I were kindred spirits based on the words of her music. Nobody but me can truly understand the impact and I get teased about my love for her all the time but I don't mind. My love for Amy and her music is personal and runs deep and now I get to pass the love on to my girls.
I have literally dreamed often of meeting her in person and having the chance to tell her how much her music means to me. I have played the scene over in my head so many times knowing she would want to know how God used her music in such a powerful way.
I was struggling through high school being that girl with "daddy issues" and looking for love in all the wrong places. Then steps in Stephanie Miller (now Magee). God brought us together at the perfect time. We needed each other and we had originally met because somebody told her about my love for Amy Grant. We were both life long fans and became instant best friends. We stood by each other and kept each other out of trouble. Stephanie wasn't sure about life after high school until I invited her to attend Bible College with me. She actually did and we got to be roommates. We both met the loves of our lives there. We were bridesmaids in each other's wedding. Seven babies were born between the two of us, many miles separated us for years, five years came and went without a visit. We had lost touch.
Until one day when Stephanie told me about Amy's most recent concert close to Columbus. I turned it down at first because we were having a birthday party that weekend for Tyson & Mia. But then she made a plea on Instagram and Facebook that looked like this:
I could not possibly say no and we changed the party date. During our freshman year of college, 17 years ago, Amy released a new album so our bookstore had this giant cardboard cut-out of her. We asked them if we could have it when they were done. Sure enough, they gave it to us and we hung it on our wall along with several other posters of her. That album along with many others of hers played constantly in our dorm room. Stephanie's parents are currently moving and just recently found cardboard Amy in a closet so she was determined to use it in an effort to meet the real Amy.
Somehow, her plan totally worked. I picked her up at home that night since she was closer to the concert venue. The second we saw each other, it was as if we had never been apart. We didn't have a second without something to talk about and we laughed like fools. It was beautiful. We even got lost on the way to the concert which is totally normal for us. We had to stop at a gas station and ask for directions because we were not about to be late for this concert.
Cardboard Amy brought us a lot of attention and we told everyone that would listen about how it had been hanging in our college dorm room so many years ago. We made a lot of friends that night. The people at the ticket table asked us if we had been drinking already. The best part was that we hadn't had a drop. We were just happy.
We sat in the lawn area which was pretty far away from stage but it was a small town festival type thing and everyone was so nice and friendly. It seemed to be a pretty laid back atmosphere. There were security guards all around but we made friends with most of them and they loved us for some reason. We told them our plan to meet her by waving cardboard Amy around like crazy to get her attention. They laughed and told us they were rooting for us.
The orchestra played for an hour so by the time Amy actually came out, we had completely caught up on each other's lives. We were already talking about how we didn't want the night to end. We felt young and it was so refreshing.
Once the real concert began, we were loving it and singing as loudly as we could without making enemies with our lawn neighbors. We continued to discuss a plan to meet her and wondered how we could get her to see cardboard Amy in the dark. One of our new friends came over and sat by us for a minute telling us that he had told a security guard down by the bathrooms about how he was sitting by Amy Grant fanatics that had a cardboard Amy from college and we were desperate to meet her. He suggested we just follow along the yellow lines up front getting as close to the stage as we could and yell when things got quiet in between songs. We laughed. He actually was drunk. But it gave us that little extra push we needed to make our way up front. We left our blanket, grabbed our purses and cardboard Amy and headed to the front. They allowed people to get very close to the stage while still staying on the other side of the yellow lines. We were in awe as we stood and listened to her singing so close to the stage. We talked to one of our security guard buddies for a minute about our plan and then we did it. We yelled for her to look at us in between songs. She put her hand over her eyes but could not really tell what was going on. She did wave to us but went straight into singing another song. We stepped back a bit and began discussing a plan B when all of a sudden, a security guard that we had not met yet waved us over. We could not believe it. He led us to the other side of the yellow line and gave us directions. He took us to a spot where we could stand, let us know that she was about to sing her last song and then we could call to her when things got quiet. What? We couldn't believe it. We were literally as close to the stage as you could get at this point. We were pretty much both shaking and my heart was beating extremely fast.
When the time came, he gave us the nod to start shouting and we did. He prompted us to move closer so she could hear us better. The concert had ended and everyone was clapping for her. We held up cardboard Amy and called her name. She came to us and leaned down to hold our hands and talk to us for a minute. She told us she had not been able to see what we were holding. We told her the story of cardboard Amy and then she said, "Well come on back." What?!??
We got to follow a security guard to the back of the stage. She gave us both huge hugs as she stepped down and we began talking a mile a minute like crazy people telling her everything we could think of in the moment. It was totally surreal to finally be able to tell her how much her music means to me. Stephanie even mentioned her music being sung at my wedding and she loved that. I even told her the name of my favorite song. She was incredibly genuine, kind, and loving. She thanked us for our words and for bringing cardboard Amy. She gave us extra hugs and such sweet smiles. We got a picture on my phone which is horrible quality but so amazing. It was such a beautiful few minutes and I loved sharing it with Stephanie.
We walked away in shock and the security guards were all so happy for us. It pays to be bold and a little crazy!
What a night. I wish it could have lasted longer. I could have laughed with Stephanie all night long. I keep thinking of more I wanted to share with Amy. The three of us needed to sit down with a glass of sweet tea and talk for hours. She was that cool. Seriously.
I keep playing the night over and over in my head and just feel so thankful for the whole experience and string of events that led us there. And even more, I feel so thankful to have an old friend who I can just pick up right where we left off and make new memories with. Too many blessings to count. I can't wait to tell my grandchildren about this someday...