So I'm camping yesterday with my lubberly lil' family at one of the State Parks when my eyeglass frames break. Fun times. I am officially a dork now with one ear piece missing and the glasses perched upon my nose held only in place by the other ear piece.
So off I go to the place where I purchased them to get another frame and we decide to go to the local chinese food place for lunch. I'm wearing my normal weekend camping attire, a pair of cargo shorts and a black t-shirt from my good friend's faith community (Journey IFC) and my gold chain with my United Methodist cross hanging from it. While I'm eating, an older fella with his company logo shirt comes in the door and our eyes meet. Somehow we seem to connect as we look at each other, and then he goes to another part of the restaurant. A little later on I'm interupted by the words, "Excuse me sir." Holding an egg roll in one hand and a mouth full of something that looks like chicken, I look up and its this same guy. He says to me, "Thank you for wearing that cross". I respond with something stupid I'm sure, like "Thanks" or "your welcome" or something, and he says, "I appreciate that". And its not the "politician smiling suck up way" of saying something, it was the "sincere somber I've got a story" way of saying something. So he turns and walks out of the restaurant. I resist the urge to follow him outside, due to my family being with me, but would really have loved to hear his story. To see where he is in his life. There was something there.
We leave and go to the place where I bought my glasses and they don't carry that frame anymore. I call the eye doctor and he loves me so much he works me in so I can get a new exam. We drive over and I walk in the lobby and have a seat. My family goes elsewhere. A lady in her 50s walks in and sets in the lobby as well. Just she and I. She looks over at me and asks, "Is that a United Methodist cross" and I replied yes. Thats all it took. She opened up like the flood gates of the Hoover Dam and begin telling me how her grandparents were the charter members of some baptist church in another community, how she had been a Baptist for 50 plus years of her life but is now going to one of the local United Methodist churches. I said "good for you" and she kept on... I was a Baptist for 50 plus years until I got a divorce. Then I was treated differently because I was divorced. This lady also had a story to tell and I listened. We talked about judgement of others and how different she now felt with a grace filled theology instead of the one she had grown up with. She said she wished she had known this earlier in her life because she actually liked to go to the casinos, have some wine and dance every now and then. I told her it was a beautiful thing that she was a recovering baptist and she replied "I'm recovered!". I tried to explain there was no such thing as a "recovered baptist", that its a process like AA, you are always in recovery, and she just laughed. She said she now teaches a sunday school class and thoroughly loves it. She wasn't allowed to at her Baptist church it sounded like.
She asked me if I had read "The Shack". Wow, yes I had read it and it was a good read. She said she was reading it now but some of her Baptist friends said it was heresy. We both agreed those folks would probably have a rude awakening when and if they actually met god. Then the lady who worked there spoke up and said she was reading it for the second time. It went on like this for a while until they called me into the exam room. I gave the lady the name of a book to read that lets her know its okay to be human, "Messy Spirituality" and she had me write it down on a piece of paper. I have no doubt she drove down the street to the book store and bought it. This lady, in her 50s, was all on fire with finally getting the chance to figure out who she is and what she believes and what God wants of her.
It was totally cool.
And this happens to me all the time. Another day in the life of the nonprofitprophet.
And that is cool as well.