This afternoon I left the house with my notebook, edited papers, and laptop to go do some rewrites at Starbucks. I knew I needed to get out of the house if I had any hope of getting work done today. I found a big chair and a side table and got to work. I edited and wrote, trying to attend to each of the corrections the various editors had made. After two hours I had completed a whopping 4 essays, two of which didn't really require much. =/ My brother decided he should underscore my pain by telling me that he knew people who had done all of their papers in one day and still passed. Jerks. One day?!?! Writing, editing, and formatting in one day?! Yeah, friggin' right. Jeez man.
I called my parents for some sympathy and distraction and then got back to work, getting another four done before I threw in the towel. But as I worked on the latter four, a man came and sat in the chair next to me. He was a smiling and friendly man who greeted me with cheer. I'm the type who normally smiles and makes small talk, or sometimes just makes eye contact and ends up hearing a life story and leaving 2 hours later without much accomplished. Determined to stay on task I stayed very focused on my work. I could feel him looking at me from time to time, seemingly eager to engage me. I resisted.
As I finished my writing for the night, I had this sense that maybe he had a purpose that day. Maybe I should have engaged him. Maybe I should have asked how he was. But I didn't. I thought about telling him exactly what I was thinking and then figured he'd think I was a nut. He was Christian, I could tell that by the book he was reading. And when I started to leave he wished me a good night. I reciprocated and then he said, "God bless you." Again I reciprocated but was slightly surprised since most people don't say that to me unless a) we've had a theological discussion, b) I've prayed with them, c) they know I'm a pastor. He didn't know who I was or what I was doing. There were no Bibles on the table (a guarantee that I will have one of those 2 hour discussions) and no signs of what I was working on.
I left with a smile and this strange sense that I should have talked to him. Again I brushed it off and went on my way. I went to the store and got some items for the chili lunch tomorrow and on my way back past Starbucks I thought about stopping--it was that strong a feeling. Again I thought better of it, convinced he'd be sure I was a nut if I did that.
And yet still I wonder if there was something that should have happened tonight. He was middle aged and a father, so he's not the man I'm supposed to marry. He didn't seem to have the demeanor of a pastor nor that of someone in emotional or spiritual need. It's an odd feeling and I wonder if I will run into him again for the opportunity to see what God might have in store.