Too Sweet Pie and Empty Parking Lots

Last night I met some friends at a local restuarant here, Village Inn. It’s not exactly known for quality food, or really exceptional service. But it did the trick for providing a comfy booth and something to munch on while we dialogued over life, theology and church.

I confessed to Tammi that I don’t fit at the church I currently attend. She nodded sadly, her and Mark left recently after struggling to connect with people. But I sort of shrugged, it’s not exactly unusual. I mean, let’s think about my oddities. Last night I spent the evening with two people in their early 40s and one in early 30s. All of my friends are older than me, and that has usually been the case. I think college was the one exception, and some of that was simply because the population did give much chance for other options.

It was pretty wonderful. Sort of awkward at points. Jason and I sat next to each other, and let’s just say that I created something of a debacle two weeks ago that we had yet to discuss. But you know, we made eye contact, and we laughed, and he teased and I exposed my ridiculous naivete especially concerning money, and Mark and Tammi laughed and we are all friends. I am loved, even if only casually, in this little community. It’s glorious to sit with them and talk and even better to listen.

We stayed until our waiter had traded shifts. Until someone had vacuumed and the apparent regulars had started to filter out. I don’t even know what all we talked about; God and glory and misfits, jealousy and hopes and things we’re still holding onto.

It was a little bit of heaven to sit with people and count myself safe. As though I didn’t have to worry–for the most part–that I’d make a fool of myself. Or that I would be rejected for foolish things and frightened doubts.

We didn’t leave until 11. And then I stood in the parking lot with Jason for an hour, apologizing for my immaturity that still flares up despite my attempts to stiffle it and put childish things to death.

I’m growing a lot, it seems. I pray more, because I actually kind of want to talk with God. Jason made a comment that he grew up in the church, same one, for 18 years and didn’t know God. I am 22. I went to a “Christian” university. I studied theology, I talked it, I wrote it, I knew it.

But I’m only just now discovering it. In odd places like Village Inn, or on the treadmill; wandering through garage sales, or serving the bank by working 12 hour days.

It’s amazing. God sort of deconstructs. He takes apart my world, and it’s hard to watch, hard to experience, near impossible to embrace. But then, in His time, for His glory, he puts it back together again.

Jason said last night, just before we left, “yeah. It’s hard. But I see God’s glory. And that’s all that matters.”

someday, I’ll have faith like that.

baby steps.


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