Friday, December 5, 2014

A Pub, A Concert, A Stranger, An Advent

What started as a typical evening turned adventish.

I was riding with my son to a local pub.  There we were to meet my lovely wife and her friend.
It was cold, damp, and a bit dreary...early winter evening along the Great get the drift.


I succumbed to a draft of Guinness and suddenly felt obliged to keep my tweed jacket on.

Nothing too earth shattering...just good conversation and fare.

Following we drove to where my son was giving a concert.  Having dropped him off, my wife and her friend waited inside as I parked and then walked into the building.

Upon my entrance a young gentleman approached me.
I was readying myself for the question of a couple bucks....
It never came.

"What do you do?"
Now, had he known what existential angst such a question causes me--let alone from a complete stranger...

"Well, we are going to a concert in the auditorium." I said motioning to where it was and starting to move in that direction.
"No, I mean what do you DO?"
"Well..." I stammered.  I wasn't real comfortable and I just wanted to go to the concert.
He persisted, "Are you a minister?"
I stared in disbelief.
I always do when taken by surprise.  You would think I'd be onto it by now--having been knocked of my high horse countless times and in countless ways...

My wife decided I stammered enough.
"He was a  Roman Catholic priest and he was an Episcopal priest after he left."

At that point I wondered what my wife's friend was thinking as she stood and observed this encounter.  She must be thinking "They're nuts."

The man continued, "Do you mind if I read something to you?"  He grabbed his phone and began.  After the first couple sentences I knew it was about him.
...his past, his life, his questions, his faith, his search for truth and answers and....purpose.

He was feeling called to live a purposeful life.  His advent had been unfolding for years--through the many violences that life can hold. We shared about our common blood of Judaism and covenant and 'being called.'
He shared his story...out of nowhere and on this particular winter Advent Eve.

We chatted and then agreed to chat more again, sometime in the next few days.
Before he left--my wife asked him,  "What made you think he was a minister?" Then laughed and added,  "...was it his aura or oder of sanctity?"
"I don't know, its just what I felt when I saw him, and the way he looked."

Funny, I actually thought about shaving just the day before---but didn't because, well, I don't know.

Advent and the adventure unfolds in the dark of the cold evening--the Kingdom breaking in.