Yesterday morning, Jonah and I met some ladies from our church for coffee in a neighboring town. I ended up sitting next to a woman I had never met before, who is a friend of a friend. To be honest, I was kind of caught up with Jonah and just happy to be out of the house for the morning, and I am ashamed to say that making small talk with someone new wasn't at the top of my priority list. I introduced myself to Linda, and quickly learned that she had two teenagers and was very involved with "master gardening," which I am totally unfamiliar with. Our personalities were clearly different- she wasn't shy, but she barely spoke above a whisper, and I could tell that she is very selective with her words. I, on the other hand, will yap on and on about anything to anyone (which is something I really should work on).
After a few minutes, Linda began asking about Jonah, Jay, and our life together. The questions weren't anything out of the ordinary. But something struck me as different right away. She listened. Not just listened in a "yeah, I'm kind of hearing you and I'm going to nod my head now and again" kind of way... but really listened. She wasn't just asking questions to fill the silence. The more she spoke, the more interesting and insightful she became.
And then she asked, "So what are you ladies reading in the Word right now?" (She assumed correctly that I am a Christian because we had already talked about Jay's job as the worship pastor at our church.) I was caught off-guard. I mean, I am a pastor's wife, immersed in church culture, ministry, and everything that comes with it. But still, this woman was virtually a stranger to me. Rarely does anyone ask that to someone they just met. After I responded, she followed up with, "And what is God teaching you through that?" As I was answering, I was also thinking about the meaningful conversations this woman must have. She didn't know me, and yet she cut right to the core. Our exchange was simple, refreshing, and inspiring. I walked away thinking I want to be more like her. She was fearless, and not held back in the least by "social norms." Jesus spoke with people the same way... he dug in and got right to the heart of each person. To me, Linda was the epitome of the Christian phrase "in the world, but not of the world." I have a lot to learn.