Mari happened to be in town when I was in town yesterday. I deliberately stopped to make conversation. This still feels very much out of character for me. I, like S.M., would much rather be around people who agree with me, people I feel comfortable with, and the same people every week.
“How did you like that last study we did?” I asked, referencing the women’s Bible study which ended recently.
Mari shrugged and said, “It was okay.”
An awkward pause again. Mari is one of those people who is comfortable being silent while I want to fill that silence with more words. More words, more noise and distraction, cover what we lack in common.
“What are you doing today? Do you have time to pick up some lunch?” I mentally thought of my errands, but our pastor really convicted us in making time for our community, even the people who attend our church. As a church we need to love better and live the example.
“Not really.” Mari really lacked expression. It was like talking to a wall.
So I pounded my head against that wall, hoping to find a hidden door. “Is everything okay?”
“My ex-boyfriend called.” Mari said. “He still doesn’t get that we’re over.”
“Oh?” I shifted as I stood on the sidewalk. The air felt frigid against my cheeks.
“Yeah, a dozen roses every week now for the past month.” Mari looked down on the ground. “Why he didn’t do this when we were together…” Her voice faded off.
I nodded and faintly remembered my own dating stories. Oh, there were lots of them!
“So it’s kind of depressing. I guess you could tell from our last class that I’m new to this whole Christian thing.” Mari looked up. “I’m still kind of questioning this whole God thing.”
“Naturally. Ask away, anytime.” I remember at one time I would feel threatened by someone who expressed doubts about God, but God has been growing me, and I am discovering that questions are wonderful because they lead to a deeper faith.
“Maybe later.” Mari looked around.
I took her hint. “I better be going, too.”
She smiled at me, and walked away. I felt encouraged by this as it was a start to something. I’m not sure what, but I got her to talk for a few minutes with me. This woman who mostly keeps to herself opened up for just a moment. I cherished that trust and held it close to my heart, thanking God as I went about my errand-running.