The day I met Rachel Held Evans.

Okay, funny story.

I flew into Nashville yesterday to do some media interviews. My publisher took me to a local TV station, where a guy from the station met with me and took me up to the studio to record a couple of local programs. As we walked, he said, “It’s so funny you’re doing this interview now, because Rachel Held Evans had nice things to say about your book, and we just got done interviewing her.”

I said, “You mean, just now?”

“Yup. For another edition of the same show you’re going to be on, Issues of Faith.”

“Wait,” I said. “You mean she’s here?!

I should pause at this moment to explain that Rachel and I have known each other online for a couple of years, but had never met in person. I first found out about her when a friend pointed me to her blog post on “13 Things That Make Me a Lousy Evangelical” back in 2010. I loved her sense of humor and appreciated the tone of her writing. I invited her to be a guest on my podcast, and we recorded a show.

Rachel and I didn’t chat for a while, but then when she wanted to do a blog post called “Ask a Gay Christian” as part of her “Ask a…” series, she asked if I’d be willing to participate. I jumped at the chance, and that brought a number of Rachel’s awesome readers over here as well, just as I was starting this blog. (Hi, everyone!)

Well, Rachel and I kept in touch, and she read my book, and I read hers, and both of us really like each other, so it’s been a very cool friendship—but we’d never met.

Until yesterday, when I walked into the studio just as I was saying, “Wait, you mean she’s here?!” And sure enough, there she was, sitting across the room. And there was her husband, Dan, right by the door. I recognized him right away and reached out to shake his hand as Rachel looked up and shouted, “What are YOU doing here?!” (With delighted surprise, I think, not shock and horror.)

There were hugs, and we spent the next several minutes gushing about how excited we were to suddenly meet like this, and how much we like each other’s work, and all that sort of thing that you might expect. The show host looked amused and said he was having fun watching the two of us.

Rachel pointed out an odd-looking set piece in the studio involving a stuffed turkey and facetiously suggested I have my interview next to the turkey, because they wouldn’t let her do it for hers.

Before she and Dan had to leave, I said, “We have to get a picture!” And so Rachel, being Rachel, instantly suggested with a grin that we take a picture with the turkey.

And yes, to all of her fans out there, I can confirm that she is every bit as kind and fun and fantastic in person as you’d expect from reading her blog and books.

I love my life.