Monday, May 5, 2014

walking the walk

I was a mess.

Sweating. Breathing fast. Flustered.

I was close to tears.

I had gone "to town" (which is what we country folk say when we drive anywhere from 10-100 miles to visit a bigger town) to attend a Bible Study Fellowship "welcome class." (PS--BSF is like an A-list nightclub...you apparently have to know someone to get in. And you just show up at a predetermined location at a set, unpublished time and hope the doors are open.)

It was very unlike me to attend this meeting. I don't do things that might expose myself to others, as I prefer to remain in the background. Way in the background. As a serial non-sharer, non-socializer, barrier-keeping, wall-building busy bee, I am quite fond of keeping people out of my space. (Unless, of course, I'm writing a blog, in which case I assume no one reads it, which keeps my heart at ease.)

I got there early. Really early. (Also unusual for me...ask my husband.) I spent some time responding to Facebook messages and catching up on the things I neglect when I have a sick toddler and a 300-questions-per-day preschooler.

I began walking to the doors. Pulled the handle. Locked.

I went back to my car to drive around to the other side of the church. As I was getting in, I felt my steering wheel turn and lock. I knew immediately that I was in for a struggle with the starter, as the steering wheel lock scenario had claimed me as a victim several times. (WHY is this "steering wheel lock" a thing?)

I pulled on the wheel to both sides, jiggled the key, got out of the car, yanked on the steering wheel, got back in, jiggled the steering wheel, yanked it again. Pulled it to both sides. Hit it. Hugged it. Leaned on it. Nothing happened, unless you count the sweat that poured from my forehead.

My phone was about to die so I called Brad in case I couldn't get it figured out. His phone is awesome and never acknowledges my first call (and yes, it's his phone's fault and not his choice), so I always have to call twice. No dice. Knowing the boys were probably headed to bed soon, I texted an SOS. And while I was at it, I texted an SOS to my parents and our nannies.

"Someone call me!"

10% battery power left on the phone, and since that is the equivalent of having 10 miles of gas left in your car, I knew it would drop to zero at any second.

Brad called and I quickly told him where I was. He was on his way.

I was already late to BSF, so I decided not to go (especially since I was sweating and flustered, not my favorite way to meet new people).

However, something inside of me said, "No, I've come all this way. I'll just go in and grab an informational pamphlet."

So I walked around the church to the entrance to find three smiling ladies there to welcome my profoundly pathetic, late and sweaty self. I was clearly flustered when I explained my situation.

One woman stood out to me. She was joyful. Warm. Welcoming. Humble.

I tried to explain that I couldn't stay. She was very kind in her disregard for my excuses. 

What do you do when you feel the need to explain to a stranger that you are normally not this out of control and ridiculously positioned in life and that you normally have it all together? Do you over-explain or keep it quick and classy? I tried to keep it quick: My car wouldn't start, my phone was dead (it nearly was) and my husband was on the way.

This woman still wasn't having my excuses. She asked where my car was and what my husband looked like. She wanted my key and was going to wait for him out back.

"Oh, no, you don't have to do that. He might not really know where it is and I feel bad enough already."

"Oh no, don't worry," she said. Then she led me to my group and went outside, returning a few moments later after starting my car. (Clearly, she performs miracles.)

"My dad taught me a trick...pull down, pull up, jiggle the wheel," she explained.

I felt like an idiot for not getting it figured out after a thousand tries, but she just stood there smiling, joyful, and humble, then handed me her phone to call my husband. I then had to explain that I would have to call twice because of his phone. On the second call I dialed myself, didn't realize it, and was confused when my own phone (which I had told her was dead because it was almost dead) rang. I am telling you...so SO flustered.

I finally talked to Brad, who then told me he needed the car seats from me, as I had all four in my car because I had gotten ours back from my parents after they watched the boys all day.

So I went outside to make sure he could get the seats from my car, then he pulled up. The boys were both asleep in their home-rigged car seats, and the nice woman came outside to check on us. I then had to explain the car seat debacle.

This poor woman has been dragged into my mess, and she must think I am the biggest lunatic to walk the planet.

Finally, I went back into the meeting, and since it was nearly over the leader said we could choose to stay for the teaching sermon or go home, since we were in the welcome class and hadn't done the study beforehand.

Normally, I would just go home, and I REALLY wanted to do so this time, but I didn't want to have to walk by the super-nice woman who had been so patient throughout my ridiculous ordeals and possibly offend her by just leaving. So I went to the sermon.

Wouldn't you know it, SHE was the teacher leading the sermon.

THIS is why walking the walk is more important than talking the talk. Let's say I was a non-Christian who was just curious about the Bible. This woman--with all of her patience, goodwill and humble service--simply would not have let me leave that place without my hearing the Good News. I would have heard the gospel straight from her lips (from a pulpit or otherwise, I'm sure) because of her attitude toward me, despite the mess that I was last night. She made me feel important, like someone cared, like she really wanted--even needed--me to be there.

If you want to share Christ with someone, you might start by sharing your life. Share your time. Share your phone. Share your talents. Share your smile. Share your skills. Share your food. Share your family. Share your energy.

Then share your story and your hope. Someone might actually listen. I did.