September 2003, Detroit, Michigan. I wish I could think of good things to say about this trip. The bad certainly seemed to be everywhere, but in the end, I think it turned out all right.
The annual convention of the American Association of Medical Assistants took place in the Marriott Renaissance Center, a huge newly renovated hotel. It had over 70 stories and you had to take a separate elevator to get to the upper floors. I am claustrophobic and avoid elevators wherever possible. Well, when your room is on the 63rd floor, the stairs are kind of out of the question.
The hotel was right on the Detroit River and just across from Windsor, Canada. The boardwalk along the river was picturesque and a great place for me to take a daily walk and get some fresh air. Other than that, I didn’t get out at all. A migraine plagued me the entire five days that I was there.
But I suppose I shouldn’t complain about a cheap trip. As a delegate representing the state of Wisconsin, I had my registration, room and most meals paid for. The obligation was that we – myself and the other four delegates - had to attend the entire national House of Delegates, voting on things that could affect the entire membership of the organization. Not usually any big deal. You probably know – or can guess – how governing boards function. Boring is the first thought that comes to mind.
I thrive on boring. But it wasn’t to be the case this time.
Any state society can present a proposal to the House for a vote. I don’t remember the exact details of the 2003 resolution which threw me into a tizzy, but the gist of it was that business sessions of the AAMA would open with prayer. I guess that years before the organization had done that until some state proposed ending the practice, and now some members wanted it back. The rest of the delegates from Wisconsin spent the entire day before the House of Delegates trying to convince me that I must vote against this proposal. They said that I was representing the state and that I had to vote what the majority wanted. They said that they had brought this issue before their local chapters and the feedback they got was that this resolution was not in the best interests of the organization. My local chapter was – and still is – not much of a factor. I was alone in deciding what was best for my area.
I respect all of the women I was with in Detroit; I considered them my friends back in 2003 and I still do today. I know that some of them are devote Christians and I would never question their faith. They only felt that forcing prayer onto the national organization was not the way to go. In theory, I agreed with that, but my heart just told me that by voting against prayer, I was being like Peter when he three times denied that he knew Jesus.
The day of the House of Delegates arrived. I got through all of the boring business stuff, I got through lunch, I got through the election of officers. And then it was time for the resolution. Discussion went on and on; everyone had a strong opinion and everyone wanted their opinion heard. It felt like hours passed while the debate continued. My stomach churned and my head pounded. Just call for the vote, I kept thinking, just call for the vote and somehow God will tell me what to do.
Well, God jumped in like He thankfully does sometimes. Instead of calling for the vote, someone – was it the Speaker of the House – I forget a lot of the details of parliamentary procedure – doesn’t really matter, because whoever it was moved instead that we kill the proposal. Instead of voting for or against it, we were going to vote to just make it go away.
Maybe another day I would be asked to stand up and defend my faith when it wasn’t the popular thing to do, but that fall day in Detroit, God bailed me out in my hour of need.