I never know what she will say. She’s never met a stranger in her life. She is easily intrigued and questions come quickly, and they are easily voiced.
Every person is just that. A person. They are not strangers. They have no color differences and they all must be kind. In her mind they are all very much the same and there are just no boundaries that she can’t cross.
While shoe shopping last weekend we decided on black paten leather. Shoes she’d wear to church. We went to pay and while we were standing at the register…
“You can wear these this Sunday,” I say, smiling at her.
“Yes.” She agrees while watching the lady behind the counter. She hears me but she’s not paying attention to me. I know it’s coming.
“Do you have a church home?” she immediately blurts out to the lady ringing up shoes and checking sizes.
The lady realizes she’s talking to her. “Me? Oh, um. Well, I do have a place that I attend sometimes. It’s on the West side. A Methodist church.”
“Well, we go to Hickory Grove. Right mom? Tell her!” I am suddenly on the spot in the middle of a discussion with a complete stranger about church. I was buying shoes, for the love of Pete!
“Um, yes! She’s right! We do attend Hickory Grove. It’s on this side of town and we’d love to have you sometime.”
It doesn’t stop. “Yeah! We have a clothes closet! Do you need clothes? You could come!”
The girl smiles, but her eyes are on the computer screen. She’s putting shoes in a bag now and getting my receipt. You can tell this talk about church is making her very uncomfortable.
“Wow! Really? A clothes closet!” she says not sure what to say next.
I realize that this conversation must need to happen and yet I am almost as uncomfortable as she is. WHY!? If this twelve year old isn’t in the least bit concerned about what she may say or think in response then why am I?
I continue. “Yes, we are open on Tuesday and Thursday each week.It’s on the church campus. Do you know where we are located? ”
The lady runs some extra paper off of the roll from the register and hands me a pen. “I may know someone who could really use that. Thank you so much for mentioning it. Could you write it down for me? The information about the clothes, I mean.”
It’s true that most of us have trouble even starting a conversation with a stranger about God, church or anything of the like. We can talk about shopping and how things look. We can talk about the prices of groceries being overwhelming in the grocery store and we can talk about sports all day long. When it comes to God, however, we are frightened that we might offend or cause someone to feel uncomfortable.
As we walked to the car I said, “Hey, why did you do that?”
“Well, mom. She might not have had a church. We need to invite everybody, right?”
Yes, honey. We do. We sure do.