I have had A LOT of little conversations in the last couple of days — The veterinary receptionist who wants to go back to school one day. The veterinary tech who looked impossibly young to have been working there for 10 years. He juggled my cat and dog for me while I paid the bill, and then even corralled them to the car for me. A woman at Ross who was buying a shirt and tie for her husband to be to wear when they get married at the courthouse on Monday. They have five month old twins. She was not interested in an invitation to church — said she already has one they attend. I talked with a lady at Home Depot who was trying to buy a bench for her yard, and wasn’t sure it would fit in her car. The cashier at the garden department there was carrying on a conversation with everyone. I should be like her — she was all about caring about people!
Then today I was at the Fort Benning Flea Market as a vendor, selling items we had made to raise funds for Hope for Children. After I set up I chatted with a vendor across from me. Her husband was retired military, a sergeant major, and it turned out that she knows a sergeant major friend of mine and his family. I had bits of talks with many of the people who floated by. One woman’s husband was a mechanic who had been stationed at Benning since 2006. Her cute snaggle-tooth daughter with glasses and a blond pony tail picked out a bracelet for Kathy to make. An elderly African American woman gave me a dollar for HOPE, and asked for a brochure so she could look them up and give to them monthly. Eighteen year old fresh faced soldiers fresh out of boot camp roamed about in their fatigues and talked to me for awhile just to converse with a motherly figure, perhaps.
Yet in all of my conversations with these people, nothing of substance was really said. I did invite a couple to church or Bible study. I did deny my desire to be self absorbed. I did glorify God by caring about others. It was much better than remaining quiet. I lived out the fact that we are made to interact, not to be separate from one another. Each person added their own color to the day, and enriched my time. I hope I added color to their day as well.
But I would have liked to say so much more to them. How much of what was not said was me shrinking back? I didn’t get further in my dream of truly making a difference in the world by making a substantive difference in the lives of others.
I still have much to grow in. I still have ways to repent. I must be a learner in this venture, and not just try to gut it out and make a friend a day. That is the hopeful part — that Jesus can show me how to do this. I am very encouraged by this journey, that I am trying to move forward and live what I believe in so deeply.
“how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Matt 22:37