Last month, I went with my friend Sarah to the Antelope Valley Christian Writers’ Conference. The conference was at Antelope Valley Church in Lancaster. I’ve never really been to Lancaster, I’ve only heard about it. I’ve heard it’s easy to get lost in the area. After going there, I understand why.
“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
My friend Sarah came over to my house the other day. I was getting ready to go to a funeral. While I was eating my lunch, I was telling Sarah a few things I was worried about and why. Sarah listened for a while, and then she said, “Remember the verse in the Bible where Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me… For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Do you know why Jesus uses that illustration? She asked. Do you know what a yoke is?”
“Yeah, I said. Yoke is that yellow stuff found in eggs.” Sarah burst out laughing! I didn’t know why, but the laughter was contagious. I started laughing. I knew I’d said something wrong. After she settled down, she said, “So all those years you heard that verse, you thought about eggs? That’s priceless!”
Sarah drew me a picture of a yoke and explained, “A yoke is a wooden beam used to hook two animals together to carry a heavy workload. Like horses, oxen, donkeys, etc. The reason why they use the illustration of a yoke in the Bible is because here’s Jesus and here’s you. Jesus is carrying the heavier workload.”
She told me they usually have a picture of it in the history books at school. The funny thing was, if they ever did talk about what a yoke was in school, I certainly didn’t remember. I usually have a pretty good memory, and I’m a visual learner. I guess I missed it somehow.
We laughed about it for the rest of the day. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to keep a straight face the next time I hear that verse.” She said. “The next someone asks you, “how would you like your eggs?” What are you going to tell them? Over easy and light?” I couldn’t say anything. We both just kept laughing. It was one of those things that I should’ve known at my age. For some reason, I didn’t. Oh well, the more important thing is, I know what it is now, and I’ll never forget it! What great times Sarah and I have together!
Thank you for putting good friends in my path that I can learn from. Help me to always depend on you to help me carry the burden. I can’t do it alone. I’m glad you were much smarter than me when you wrote the Bible!
We were going along, and everything was just fine. We had no traffic, etc. Then we got closer to the area. We got into Lancaster, and suddenly we didn’t see street names. Instead, we saw letters and numbers. “Avenue K,” Avenue L,” etc.
Sarah said, “For the person who has dyslexia, this is a nightmare because they see everything backwards.” The directions read: “Turn left at Ave. L-8, and our meeting place is on the right.”
We followed the directions exactly as they were written. We got to the place where we thought the conference was supposed to be. Sarah pulled into the parking lot, but it was empty. Then she called the number they gave us on the paper. We got the answering machine. It turned out to be a number for a media service that was going to be at the conference.
After going around in circles for a few minutes, we finally spotted somebody. Sarah handed the man the paper and he said, “No, you’re looking for Avenue L8-8.” Sarah is a schoolteacher, and I’m a writer, so this was driving us both nuts! Here we were, going to a conference with a bunch of well-known, successful writers, and all the signs in the community were made up of letters and numbers. I couldn’t of picked a more perfect place for a writers’ conference!
They’re very creative here in Lancaster. I thought. Who really needs to go to the conference? Why don’t we bring in the city council, and teach them some creative writing skills?
This was their seventh annual conference. The people in charge of it had to know what the area was like. Whose idea was it to hold the conference there of all places? And why?
We finally found the church and went in. Sarah explained why we were late. The man at the front door was a pastor. “I’m sorry, he said. They gave you the address of my church.”
Now we were really laughing. Not only were we in a community where all they used was letters, numbers, and dashes, but also the people who made the flyer wrote down the wrong address. The day was just beginning. So far, we were off to a great start!
Once we got there, we were fine. The conference itself was great. We both loved the biblical emphasis and spiritual encouragement. When it was time to go, we laughed about the directions and street names all the way home.
”We’re in the land of intelligence. Sarah said sarcastically. If I were on the board, I’d be going crazy. Come on people let’s think!” I laughed in agreement.
“I may still need to learn a few things about writing and getting published, but even I know enough that I could be more creative than that. I could teach Creative Writing 101.” Sarah agreed.
A month later, we’re still laughing about it. I don’t think the laughter will ever end. It’s probably something we’ll talk about forever!
“They must’ve had help from the people on Sesame Street.” I said one day as I fell to the ground laughing. “An Antelope is an animal. If they’re going to call one part Antelope Valley, why don’t they use animal names for the other streets too? Like Centipede Drive or Snake Street? How about Ladybug Lane? That would be much creative than letters and numbers.”
Sarah and I have spent a lot of time thinking about how we would rewrite the street names on the signs if we lived in the area. What a fun day we had! Not only did we both learn a lot about writing, but it also reminded me to be thankful for a few things.
First, I’m very thankful for a God who was so creative that he “knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139 13b (NIV). He also designed the whole universe— both day and night. Talk about creativity!
Secondly, I’m thankful that even though humans aren’t perfect, we have a perfect God who gave us the Bible with perfect instructions for life— if only we will follow them.
Thank you for being more creative than I could ever be. Please teach me to be more like you as I learn to follow your will for my life. Help me be a more creative follower in your image who wants to share the gospel with others.
* For more information about the conference, visit their website at:www.avwriters.com