Two weeks ago when my wife and I were walking out of the sanctuary at church, I found myself behind a guy from my old men’s group. Although I knew him from the larger portion of the group, 100+ guys, and not the smaller portion (the 6 guys I met with regularly) we used to chat in the halls when I use to attend. But in the last year since I quit, we haven’t really talked.
I didn’t quit out of anger or any sort of problem. I loved that small group. It was just a long way from my house and I wanted to invest in some relationships with guys in my own community. But he didn’t know that. It’s hard to read someone’s thoughts from the back of his head, especially if they have a tapered haircut, “tapered” being one of those words that has a very elusive definition according to the ladies at the Sports Clips barber shop I go to, but here was what I was thinking when I saw him.
“Oh snap. It’s Josh. Hey, why am I saying ‘oh snap’ all the time these days? That’s becoming a problem. That phrase is like some sort of verbal eczema spreading through my internal conversations. I need to keep an eye on that one. But oh snap, there’s Josh. I wonder if he thinks I quit small group because I’m backsliding? I bet he thinks that all of the sudden I just stopped doing my quiet time, starting sinning like it was my J.O.B. and dropped out. I guarantee that if he turns his shoulder at a 15 degree angle and sees me, he’s going to look and me and think, ‘Didn’t that guy used to go to my small group and love Jesus? I bet both of those things aren’t true anymore.’
Is there a good way out of this? Should I just tap him on the shoulder and find a way to work in a quick story about the new men’s group I’m part of right now? Do I have to essentially read him my spiritual resume to let him know I’m still down with the King? What’s the most succinct way to establish that I’m still in love with the Lord and walking with Him on a daily basis and not living in the pig pen of life like the Prodigal Son?
Is there a way to quickly say that in a passing conversation in the hall? Maybe I should just yell, “Jesus!” like one of those guys at concerts? Or I could talk about my men’s group really loudly to my wife like people at coffee shops talk loudly about all the cool things they’re doing because they want you to know how cool they are. Should I do that or just slow my gait down just enough to walk behind him, essentially dragging behind him like a race car who allows someone else to break all the wind resistance?”
Thoughts like that went through my head for 2 seconds and then I made my move. I started walking really slowly, (it was slower than my normal walk but faster than how I do the worm when like Nelly Furtado I get my freak on if that helps you picture the pace I was traveling.) My wife noticed too, and teased me about it later when I revealed the reason for my pitiful pedestrian progress. (Alliteration!)
I didn’t want to catch up to him and have to justify the entire last 12 months of my spiritual journey in a single sentence or be forced to scream “Jesus!” in the middle of the toddlers Sunday School area.
Seems pretty reasonable to me.
Am I the only one that feels this way?