Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Would Ya Please Pass the Puddin'

The refurbished old prison is a beautiful sight to behold! As soon as I walked through the door I forgot that I hadn’t eaten much all day, I even forgot why we were there, I just wanted to go explore the levels and levels of original hardwood floors, the antique style chandeliers and light fixtures, the local artist’s murals, and the jail cells in the basement now used as kitchen space. Monell’s is certainly the best new Franklin development project I’ve seen in a while.

I had no idea what I was getting into last night when I agreed to go to dinner with my friend Jayme, but I knew that she had never steered me clear of any adventure in the past so it was a sure thing that she wouldn’t start with the dinner plans. In true Jayme form, she had me talking to complete strangers around a large wooden dining table, passing a feast of southern foods, before I even realized that I was having a good time. Connections were made, stories of “our people came from…how about yours” abounded, and if I could have just gotten the nerve to ask the nerve to ask the newcomers to pass the fried chicken one more time I think my social adventure of the year would have been last night. Oh well, gives me something to work on the next time I need to be a bit out-going!

If I even entertained the idea that after dessert and coffee our adventure would come to an end I really should have known better. It was just the beginning really. On our way out the door, Jayme struck up a conversation with a fellow that looked like he was in charge. He was—of this and four other Monell’s restaurants. Michael King, the owner, kind of reminded me of the vim and vigorous Robin Williams. He had the storyteller enchantment of and actor and the charisma of a stand up comedian. He gave us the fully narrated tour I’d longed for since walking through the door. A detailed description of the building’s history, the crazy and frustrating (using a few other fun words) nature of having to deal with codes for a historic building, and—after a few guided and genuinely inquisitive questions from Jayme—told us about the Indian chief he hired to “smudge” the place because the vibes were more than a bit disconcerting, especially around the hook and trap door area of the second floor where hangings were performed on Mondays at the old prison. All in all, it was a fascinating adventure as Jayme and I took more than a moment to reflect.

And I suppose I’ve been reflecting ever since. Jayme made a comment after dinner something to the effect of, “I guess now whenever we think of Michael we can remember to pray for him”. It was really more the nature and way she said it than what specifically she said—though that has been given much thought as well—that set my mind a wondering…

I remember a few zealous years ago when I complained about the sheltered, religious nature of my life. I just new there had to be more than going to a Christian school, going to church on Sundays, going to lunch with church friends after church on Sundays, going to assist with Wednesday night children’s programs—also at church, and having all the people you associate with in between be those same souls you would worship with on Sundays and Wednesdays.

In the days since those zealous years I suppose I have become comfortable with the fact that all that I am and all that I do is associated with the church, Christian schools, and ministry. My jobs themselves are located within the walls of church and chapel. And I would have it no other way at this point in life because I know that here is where I am called. Yet the zealous taste of external Christian curiosity was left in my mouth yesterday evening.

But I wonder, I wonder something new. Something that maybe the space between those zealous and these mild mannered years may have given me. I wonder if within the mere act of living out ones calling in the simple, every day, ordinary affairs of life, I wonder if one can then be in the world but not of it. To be sure within that simplicity to take all the opportunities that come your way to listen, share stories and introductions, and maybe even plant seeds of truth and faith with those who are unbelievers, but to do so in a way that is neither revoltingly activistic nor zealously uninformed. In other words, when you meet a Michael take the time to cultivate a relationship. Ask, share, listen, be yourself, then commit to pray and see if and where God will allow your paths to cross again. Who knows, maybe we'll meet up with Mr. Grass again at his regular table, find an evening to pass the greenbean caserole to "Gran-gran" at the end of the table, or find ourselves sitting in the presence of a sweet Nashville ladies devine southern accent. Who knows.


Inkling said...

Dear Amy, sounds like you had a divine appointment in the midst of your adventure. Your thoughtfulness is good, and is pointing you in the direction of a real adventure.....the kind that doesn't let you see the "rest of the story" until the other side of eternity. Those, my friend, are the adventures that breathe life into me, for they remind me of the potence of the Gospel and the beauty of the person of Jesus Christ. We had our own Michael on the way back to the airport in Maui. I won't describe it hear, but it was one of those times when you just know you're supposed to pray while the other person is speaking to the one who has crossed your path. Keep on thinking.......and sharing with us. We are the richer for it.

Inkling said...

oh homonym hear =)

Anonymous said...

Excellent, love it!
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