Last week, while waiting to board my flight to Salt Lake City for a press trip, a gentleman sent me the following public message via Twitter: "Call Oprah today. OWN needs you!"
My first thought upon reading this guy's tweet was, "I need to consider locking my account because this crazy person who thinks Oprah Winfrey needs Erin Harper probably poses a threat to my safety." Since it was possible that this messenger could have a few loose screws, I responded with a brief 'LOL,' and moved on with my life -- at least until my phone buzzed again with a new message from the same character.
"This is no joke. The boss, I mean, the Big Boss, told me to tell you this as I was leaving this morning's prayer meeting."
Did he just imply that God told him to tell me to contact Oprah? And why was a relative stranger thinking about me while leaving his prayer meeting? Was I to act on this information? If I ignored the potentially divine message, would I be walking away from my destiny? While asking myself these questions, the little balding ticketing agent called my boarding group, causing me to store the Twitter Prophet's message in back of my mind somewhere next to the list of items that I keep forgetting to return to the Targets. As I approached the gate, I could not have predicted that the following miracles were about to unfold, which would cause the Twitter Prophet's alleged revelation to resurface to the forefront of my consciousness:
Miracle 1: The Immaculate Connection. As soon as I walked through the corridor, I spotted a piece of important-looking paper on the floor. When I reached to grab it, the paper seemed to float into my hand. The contents almost caused me to faint.
Oprah Winfrey (cell) (xxx-xxx-xxxx)
Nooooooooo way! This had to be a joke. The only way to find out would be to dial the number (and wait for John Quiñones to leap over a seat and tell me I was on an episode of What Would You Do?). Although John never came, a woman did answer on the other end -- and she sounded exactly like Harpo!
That's when I fainted. I have no idea what happened next, but the sheet of paper and my cell phone were missing when I regained consciousness. If you find this story hard to believe, it's probably because I'm lying. However, please restore your trust in me, because the next two accounts are 99% real.
Miracle 2a: An Angel Appears. After boarding the plane, I took my assigned seat next to a mother and her crying baby. Although I don't mind baby neighbors, it doesn't mean that I was not going to appreciate the next miracle. After the first "waaaah," in the blink of an eye, a bright white angel from heaven descended upon row 15. This angel, who could easily be mistaken for a White flight attendant named Rob, then performed the unsolicited holy act of offering to move me to a vacant row on the opposite side of the plane. This, my friends, is what I call divine intervention.
Miracle 2b: The Face of Oprah. I had not been in my new seat for 15 seconds when Oprah's face appeared in the row in front of me -- on the front page of a passenger's newspaper under a headline about OWN's struggling ratings.
This Oprah sighting was especially significant because the passenger and his newspaper would not have been visible to me had Rob the Angel not changed my seat. Of course it is possible that The Twitter Prophet saw the same or similar news story about OWN, leading him to message me. Yet, the fact remains that had he not sent those messages, I probably would not have reached out to OWN, or any other network this soon. After all, I am still exploring how to package my broad range of academic and creative interests and abilities, which range from child sexual exploitation prevention research to comedy writing and performance, making it unlikely that I'm ready to host my own radio or television show. Furthermore, in the age of YouTube, most networks want you to come already polished and packaged with a wildly successful web series before they even think about giving you a chance. Nonetheless, because I just resigned from a very comfortable job to follow my dreams, which also means I took the risk of losing lots of material goods, I have nothing to lose by making a public pitch to the folks at OWN. In addition, working at OWN would also mark Miracles 3 through 1,286.
I would be grateful to work at OWN in almost any capacity for a few bucks -- just don't hand me a mop. Not that I'm above cleaning, I'm just not very good at it.
While I do not deify Oprah like some of you crazies, it is evident to me that God works through her in a special way. I know this because I believe God works through my creative partners and me (and maybe even the Twitter Prophet) in a similar way. It might be risky to state publicly, but I would hope that if I ever have to work "for" someone again that they, too, view their work as a manifestation of God (no matter how fun the work may be).
As I type, I am beginning to realize that maybe the Twitter Prophet's revelation wasn't so far-fetched after all; particularly as I reflect on how I felt as I gazed at my television screen while Oprah delivered her final monologue during the farewell episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show last May. It might sound silly, and I'm sure others can relate, but I felt as though she was speaking directly to me. Let me correct that. I know she was speaking directly to me. How? Because it wasn't "her" speaking at all. It was merely God using her as a vessel to deliver THE message. In that message, she stated:
"People often ask me, 'What is the secret of success of the show? ... I non-jokingly say, 'My team and Jesus.' Because nothing but the hand of God has made this possible for me ... I know I've never been alone, and you haven't either. And I know that presence, that flow -- some people call it grace -- is working in my life at every single turn. And yours too, if you let it in. It's closer than your breath, and it is yours for the asking."
"I have felt the presence of God my whole life. Even when I didn't have a name for it, I could feel the voice bigger than myself speaking to me, and all of us have that same voice. Be still and know it. You can acknowledge it or not. You can worship it or not. You can praise it, you can ignore it or you can know it. Know it. It's always there speaking to you and waiting for you to hear it in every move, in every decision. I wait and I listen. I'm still -- I wait and listen for the guidance that's greater than my meager mind."
Perhaps the most meaningful part, to me, was:
"The only time I've ever made mistakes is when I didn't listen. So what I know is, God is love and God is life, and your life is always speaking to you. First in whispers ... It's subtle, those whispers. And if you don't pay attention to the whispers, it gets louder and louder. It's like getting thumped upside the head, like my grandmother used to do ... You don't pay attention to that, it's like getting a brick upside your head. You don't pay attention to that, the whole brick wall falls down ... That's the pattern I've seen in my life, and it's played out over and over again on this show ... I understand the manifestation of grace and God, so I know that there are no coincidences. There are none. Only divine order here."
Right now, I couldn't agree more. There are no coincidences. There are none. Only divine order here. Thanks to this divine order, I will be sure to thank the Twitter Prophet personally should I ever sit down with ol' Harpo -- especially if I get to sit under that majestic soft lighting that makes everyone look all Beyoncé-fied. Finally, I shall remind Oprah that she also said this:
"I want to keep in touch. I want you to jot down my new email address: Oprah@Oprah.com -- easy to remember, huh? This is going to be my personal email account for all of you. When you get something in your in-box from me, it will be from me directly, and I'll be reading as many of your emails as I can as I move to my next life on OWN. I want you to know that what you have to say matters to me."
'Member that, Harpo? I sure hope so. Just in case, I should probably wrap this up and get to emailing; however, if anyone reading this knows folks at OWN personally, feel free to hook me up. Later, alligators.