pop culture

The Power of Asking (+ How To See Seth Meyers in NYC)

“Do you have any questions?”

It’s a line I say all the time at work, but now I was the one being asked. I was in New York City on vacation in early December, visiting my former travel nurse partner in crime and exploring one of my favorite places in the United States.  We were sitting in the 3rd row, stage left, of the 8G studio at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the home of Late Night with Seth Meyers. Seth himself had climbed up the steps of the audience bleachers and opened up the floor for questions.

The studio audience did. He was peppered with questions about his growing family, his favorite parts of his job, his dog Frisbee, his favorite places in the city, and even some advice for getting started in a TV career by a young college student. He was very personable, and I was struck by his humility (he told the college student, “I kept doing something I loved, and no one’s kicked me out yet” and he didn’t realize he was wearing Gucci until someone asked him what he was wearing).

Before we knew it, Seth needed to be back on stage. My question was left unanswered. It’s silly anyways, I told myself. But musical guest Kacey Musgraves sang not one, but two songs that night. The second was part of an upcoming New Years’ Eve special, and the set needed to be re-staged. Seth changed and popped up back into the studio audience.

I had my chance. Would I ask my question?

It’s always been my dream to see Stephen Colbert. He’s funny, humble, nerdy, and Catholic, so when I was planning my trip to visit NYC earlier in the fall,  I wanted tickets to see him. I kept watching his ticket page over and over, but his tickets for December weren’t posting like I expected. Tickets for other NYC late shows like Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers were filling up. I was getting frantic.

I had watched Seth on Saturday Night Live, liked him on Weekend Update, and after a bit of research, found out he films next to the SNL studio (8H) and liked the idea of seeing it. I booked my friend and I tickets on his show.

I’ve always liked Saturday Night Live. Live comedy is one of my favorite forms of entertainment. Their skits can be hilarious. My father refers to me as “Tina Fey” when I wear glasses (now a very rare occurrence after my LASIK surgery), and I’ve read a couple autobiographies of former cast members. One of my favorite tidbits I’ve learned about SNL is how despite all the modern technologies available to them, they still use old fashioned cue cards.

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Here’s the story from the Today Show.

I was delighted to see that Seth still did the same thing:

la-la-ca-0609-cue-card-wally-096-jpg-20150628

But asking about cue cards of all things felt foolish. For example:

Friend: “How was your vacation?”

Me: “Great! I got to see Seth Meyers get filmed and asked him a question!”

Friend: “Oh, cool! What’d you ask?”

Me: “…I asked him about his cue cards.”

But after a period of silence after yet another question about his holiday traditions, I raised my hand. “How many cue cards do you go through a night?”

Seth thought for a moment, “Well, Wally might know better than, but I’d say 60-70. Afterward, we give them to SNL and they use them to build sets.”

A man behind us raised his hand, “Can I have one?”

“Sure,” Seth replied. “Wally, can we do that?” Cue card Wally nodded. “We’ll get it to you after the show.”

He answered a couple more questions and wrapped up his show. At the end, cue card Wally came up stage left to give the man a card, and he had three extra. I stuck out my hand to get one as everyone else in the section did, and I got the last one!

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Happy almost 2017 indeed!

I was shocked at how excited everyone else was over a cue card. Multiple employees at the NBC studio store commented. Multiple guests noted their jealousy. Multiple friends and family think my story is cool.

It felt so silly to ask about a small piece of cardboard. It felt silly to put out my hand to ask for one. It felt silly to carry it around downtown NYC, but I’m learning both in real life and my spiritual life that there’s a certain power in asking questions…even if the question feels foolish.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I don’t want to ask for certain things because I don’t want to be disappointed. It’s easier not to raise my hand than to be looked over and not selected. They say you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, but there’s an odd comfort in that. You know you’re going to miss if you don’t try. You might still miss if you do try, and that effort without gain can be painful.

That perverse mentality slips into my spiritual life frequently.  For a long time, this bitterness and fear of rejection kept me from prayer until I learned prayer was more than getting what I wanted; it’s really about connecting with Someone else.

I’ve been challenging recently myself to pray for exactly what I want. Authentic connection requires admitting our hopes, dreams, and desires. I cannot authentically connect with my Lord if I don’t admit I have needs. And yes, God is omnipotent and ergo a mindreader, so He ought to know what I need. We can get what we want without asking, but I find I tend to overlook blessings when I don’t admit I’d want them. I find relationships to be most harmful when I am taken for granted, so I’d hate to treat the One whom I love the most that same way.

I won’t lie or make it sound better than it is. Asking for what I want has been hard. Really hard. It’s been disproportionately harder than I thought it would be, and it’s been incredibly tempting to slip back into my old bad habit of pretending I don’t want anything in an extremely unhealthy method of self defense.

Asking for exactly what you want opens you up to hurt when you don’t get what you want. I’ve been disappointed. I’ve been upset. I’ve ugly cried to the point of not being able to see clearly my eyes were so dry.

But I’ve also been incredibly blessed with the silliest of small things that have brought such joy to my little heart. I didn’t want to drive to the airport, and people said “yes” when I asked if they could. I’ve been wanting snow, and we recently had a gorgeous snow fall (followed up by rain. In January. In Wisconsin. What is that!? (which was followed up by more snow just as I was starting to complain about the rain.)) I wanted flowers on my birthday, and a friend brought me some gorgeous pink ones as a gift. I wanted a giant, uncompromising bear hug after a really bad case at work, and my friend unexpectedly found me, sat by me, comforted me, and hugged me without letting go for all the time I needed.

Letting Him know my hopes, dreams, desires, aspirations, wants, and legitimate needs, I’ve found He desires those same goods for me. Our timing is almost never in sync (mostly from my horrible lack of patience), but I’ve found the true benefit of admitting my hopes, dreams, desires, aspirations, wants, and legitimate needs, is hearing the words, “Me too.”

The Lord knows what I need more than I do. He knows what I need to become my best self, and I have to trust He has my best interest in mind when I’m not getting what I want. Yet even when I’m not, I know I have a Savior who is like me in every way but sin. Every complaint I can ever imagine, He’s dealt with perfectly and can say, “me too.”

And when I become impatient, I think of His life. Jesus had infinite patience when he waited 30 years in Nazareth to start His ministry. He knew how much Israel and the world needed His ministry and salvation, but He knew He needed to wait to serve them. In the same way, I know He’s never holding out on me for nothing. He always hears my questions. I’m just not always ready for the answer.

So, after asking for all my hopes, dreams, desires, aspirations, wants, and legitimate needs, I ultimately pray, “Lord, I have specific requests that may only partially fill the infinite needs and desires that are in my heart. I ask that You answer me not only for those requests but also for a greater reliance on You to satisfy the needs and desires that You have given me.”

If anything, He’s really good at answering that request about relying on Him. 🙂

10 Steps to See Seth Meyers:

1 – Plan ahead! Tickets for late night shows are usually released at least a month out, and depending on the popularity of the show, they can be eaten up quickly. Apparently, releases are posted on Twitter, but usually shows have more tweets than I want to read, so I just checked the website nearly daily.

2 – Visit the 1iota website to see what’s available. (Direct link for Seth is http://1iota.com/show/461/late-night-with-seth-meyers). This website allows you to get standby tickets for all sorts of shows the need live studio audiences, from late night shows to talk shows to even comedy shows and movie screenings. For late night shows, you can get tickets once every 6 months.

3 – Sign up and get tickets. This is self explanatory.

4 – Do not freak out when you do not have confirmed tickets. This is normal.

5 – About two weeks out, if you’re in, you’ll get an email. Confirm your ticket, like the button says.

6 – You’ll get reminder emails. If plans change, be kind to others and cancel your ticket.

7 – Day of, make sure you have your tickets!

8 – Eat something beforehand or have a snack on you. You’re quarantined when you get in, and we got out at 8:30pm. Avoid hypoglycemia, and pack a snack.

9 – Come at least 45 minutes early. Your seats are determined by when you arrive. Arriving by the deadline is not nearly early enough, and you may not be able to get a spot.

10 – ENJOY! 😀

Some places I love in NYC:

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