So, I stopped by my 7-11 the other day and was talking to my Hindu friend. She shared that she had gotten some bad news....someone she knows of committed suicide. As she and I were talking, I noticed Bottle Man was coming towards the door. I got some cash back with my purchase so I could give it to him. I was trying to figure out how to do that without sounding trite and being protective of his dignity. As I was walking out the door, he was walking in and he held the door open for me. He looked me in the eye and said with the most gentle voice, "Mornin' M'am. How are you?" And my loving Christian response was to say, "Dude" as I shoved the money into his hand. I heard his surprised, "Thank you, M'am!" behind me as I hightailed it out of there.
Now the reason I hightailed it out of there wasn't because I was afraid or uncomfortable with Bottle Man. It was because I was laughing at myself. Dude? Where did that come from? That isn't even part of my vernacular! I was talking to some friends about it this weekend. They thought my saying "Dude" was pretty funny too. But we also wondered why we make this so difficult. Why we have to think about these small acts, that should be so natural to a Christian, before we just do them. Everyone decided to give Bottle Man a name until we can find out for real what it is....Larry. We also tried to come up with ways we can find out what size shoe Larry wears because we are worried that he needs a good pair with the weather changing and all.
I have noticed that as I drive by the 7-11 I am always checking for Larry now. It has been raining alot and has started to get chilly in the mornings. As I was pulling out from the store this morning, I saw Larry in my rearview mirror. He was carrying his standard black trash bag and was on his way to the 7-11. It was raining lightly, and much to my relief, he was wearing a jacket.
I feel like God has placed a responsibility on me to pray for, to care about, and to care for my Hindu friends, and now Larry. Who would have thought that a convenience store could be so missional?!!