Usually it is quiet on my day off. I do needed errands and take a break. It’s my Sabbath, and I have to admit, I don’t make much conversation when I am doing my errands. My mind wanders and I shop, but I have recently been challenged to change my interactions and conversations this past month, even on my day off. It has been a strange month for me where I have bumped into someone I have known at the grocery store every week for the past month when in the past this has been a rare occurrence.
Sometimes I’ve seen people I have known from our church and sometimes I have to think a bit about where I know the person from. When I know them, I say “Hi” when I catch their eye, but I have passed a couple of people a few times before I finally said, “You look so familiar…” and started a conversation.
Yesterday was one of those days where I had to think hard, but it was also a day where I saw signs of God. I passed this gentleman several times, and finally I said, “You look so familiar, but I’m not sure where I know you from,” hoping that maybe he might be able to enlighten me.
I took a stab in the dark and guessed. “Do you go to church?” because I know a lot of people from church and I suspected that he might have been from the Spanish congregation that used to meet at Westview.
He answered that he didn’t and I explained, “Oh, I wondered if you went to the Spanish church that used to meet …,” and he interjected, “Oh, yes I used to go there!” He explained his connection and we started a conversation.
I thought, wow, isn’t that interesting? I met another person this week randomly at the same grocery store, and God wasn’t done. As I was checking out my groceries. The person in front of me turned around and said, “Hello.” He attends another church in the area and we play baseball together. We started chatting right away, and he eventually asked, “How are things at your church?” To which I gave a general reply to say that they are going well. Then he asked the same question again.
I guessed that he wanted to know more detail, so I offered up, “Well, we are in the midst of collecting Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.” And I proceeded to talk a bit about it.
The cashier then interrupted and asked, “Where do you get boxes for that? I have always wanted to do something like that, but I’ve never known where to get a box.”
I proceeded to tell her that we’re across the road from McDonald’s. Just for clarification she asked, “Is it that program where they send gifts to kids overseas?”
“Yes,” I said, "and this year they are sending the shoeboxes to West Africa and Central America.” I continued to pack my groceries and thought, “Wow, that was a neat moment!” and as my friend left he gave a thumbs up recognizing the special moment too.
But there was more.
Next, the gentleman who was in line behind me, who only heard part of the conversation asked, “Which McDonald’s is your church by?” to which I gave him the needed details.
I pushed my cart out of that grocery store knowing that I had experienced something special in something so small. Something that developed from having a conversation in the grocery store on a day when I often prefer to keep to myself. God placed all these people around me who all responded to my conversation, a conversation I could have avoided. These are moments that may change the direction of lives in a small way or in a huge way. I really don’t know, but God does, and all I had to do was be open to having a conversation, a conversation that anyone can have and through which God can do amazing things.
Pastor Tina Rae