Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Coffee shop intruders.

I saw something the other day that sent me through a myriad of emotions and thought processes. At a Starbucks in Oregon, a person walked in front of me, and all I noticed was that they were wearing a shirt that on the back said, “On the first day, man michelangelo created god.” It had Michelangelo’s painting of man’s hand reaching towards what is presumably God’s, in the background. The front of the shirt had the molecule symbol, with the words “Secular Alliance” and a web address.
This brought out a variety of reactions in me, one of which was probably not good. My first, knee-jerk response was a quick flash of defensive anger. I’m aware that there are people who think that way, but usually they don’t go posting it on their backs in a declaration to the world. The mockery it attempted to make of a Holy God, and of the things I believe in, immediately ‘got my hackles up,’ so to speak.
My second reaction was curiosity about her specifically. What had brought her to think that way, and to proclaim her beliefs, or lack thereof, to everyone she sees? Does her family think the same way, or are they perhaps grieving for her lack of belief? Does she even have family?
My third reaction was great pity and compassion. While we stood next to each other, waiting for our drinks, (which, by the way, was a long while. Don’t ever go to the Starbucks next to Fred Meyer, in Bend, Oregon. Always have slow service there.) my heart broke a little for her. What kind of life must an atheist lead? How can they sleep at night? Do they simply narcotize themselves by claiming “no” belief in God, and making valiant efforts not to think about it? And if they do, what kind of despair would that lead to? If you have no thoughts of eternity, no expectation of heaven, no joy and peace given by a gracious God, what do you live for? Where does she go when life gets hard? I cannot imagine living in that sad sort of box. A dark, silent box, in a way, where you can see nothing beyond your own troubles and despair. On earth, you may be able to stand alone and shout your heresies from the rooftops, and no one will bat an eye. But when it comes to the judgment day, you cannot stand alone to face God. You have to have been redeemed by His son’s blood. I wanted to talk to her, but I had people waiting for me. Now I’m ashamed that I didn’t say something. I wanted to ask her about her shirt, what prompted it, why she thinks that, etc, but all I could think was “They’re waiting in the car for you, and you won’t have time to really get into a good discussion.” So, then I went to plan B, which was to pull a card with a verse and a website on it out to give it to her, but of course I’d left that card in my other purse.
Then I left. I walked out of Starbucks, and she walked out behind me. She got into a car across from me, and I saw the Darwin fish on the back. You know the one, where they take the “Jesus fish” symbol, and put the word “Darwin” in it instead. (Also, usually when I see that, it makes me mad) Having not talked to her, or witnessed to her, I began to pray for her, and still am. But somehow I feel like I failed a little bit. That would’ve been a perfect opportunity, with a great opening. Yet, I walked away without saying a word. In a way, I can see why I did. Part of it was trepidation that I would say the wrong thing, but in all honestly, I mostly didn’t want to keep my parents waiting longer than necessary, and I didn’t want to start a discussion I couldn’t finish. The next time, however, I think I will just do it. Nevermind who is waiting for me, when I have the opportunity to plant a seed to get someone thinking about the Gospel.
All that aside, my very last reaction was this: Great joy that God has saved my soul! That I am not a party to the despair that pervades the lives of the unsaved! I don’t say that with a sense of superiority, thinking “Oh, so glad I’m not like HER!”, but with a sense of joy born of thankfulness. It was, in a way, a good reminder of what God has done for me.  Without God’s grace extended to me, I might be wearing a shirt just like that.
Oh, on another note of people intruding on you in coffee shops…. I was having coffee with a friend, and noticed a guy hanging around for a bit too long, apparently eavesdropping. We talked about a variety of things, such as music, church, books, etc. Then, he wanders over, a bit too buoyantly, hands my friend a piece of paper, IMG_2884-1 says something incoherent about Taylor Swift, and then says to me, “Do you read my blog?”  I said, “I don’t know, what’s the name of your blog?” (I wanted to say something like “NO, you creep, why would you approach two young women and ask if they’d read your blog? Now back off!” However, I managed to mangle out a gracious smile. (I think. My friend may have a different opinion of what my facial expression was…) He’d written the name and web address of his blog down, as well as his name, and the phrase “The spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.” Then he said “Oh, it’s called ‘The Lost Tribes of Israel.’” He said a few other things, but he talked extremely fast, and was also not making sense. Aside from being extremely weirded out, no harm was done, and he left as quickly as he came, leaving us sitting there gaping at each other and trying to figure out exactly what was going on. Now I’m going to have to visit his blog, just to satisfy my curiosity!
Well, I’m supposed to be out working in the yard, so that must conclude this. (Can I say that? “That must conclude This?”) Well, that’s that, so no more of this. (While I’m mutilating grammar, I might as well go the whole way.)