Sunday, July 11, 2010


I do not remember her name. I do remember my joy at her startled reaction and then rejoiced for her as I turned to leave.

My wife and I were shopping clothes for our girls ages three through eight. No matter what the outing as much as possible I was always along. It was never, ever a question for me whether to stay home or accompany my family. I walked in from the office in suit and tie and turned right around to head for the mall. After we had the better part of the job done I told Nelwyn I was going next door to get a coffee. It was located between a real estate office and a travel agency.

The young lady welcomed me with a cheerful greeting into the empty restaurant. She took my order and turned to get my coffee immediately. I discerned a faint accent.

I asked, "Where are you from?"
She said, "Guess." with the same cheerfulness.
"Italy." I guessed.
"Actually, I am Persian but I speak Gaelic and grew up in England" she replied. "What kind of work do you do?" she asked.
"Guess." I replied.
"Are you a realtor?" she queried.
"In a manner of speaking." I replied.
"Are you a travel agent?" she asked.
"In a manner of speaking." I replied.
"Well" I said as she handed me my coffee with a smile, "would you tell me what is your father's business?"

All of a sudden her cheerful, smiling face flashed a serious look of alarm.

"How did you know my father had a business?" she asked.
"What is your father's business? I asked again.
"How do you know my father has a business?" she persisted.
"What is your father's business? I persisted.
"He owns a tailor shop in London." she replied.

"My Father has a business to which he called me. My Father's business is to cloth men and women in righteousness to prepare them for that time when they travel from this world." I said.

"You must be a priest. What church do you go to?" she asked; a question which too often receives the terse door-closer it elicits was not my answer. She had recovered her cheerfulness and smile as she immersed herself again into the warmth of our conversation.

"In that you ask me if I am a travel agent I can, in a manner of speaking, sell you passage for your departure from this world. In that you ask me if I am a realtor I can, in a manner of speaking, sell you a portion in the kingdom of heaven not of this earth."

The moment, for that's how it seemed and how I remember it, was captivating for her as it was for me. I remember being mindful of the Spirit's presence and utterance. Although she asked for neither passage nor portion she had engaged eagerly perhaps because of her own nature of challenging others to guess and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit I myself had taken her up on her guess. I thanked her for the coffee and turned to leave rejoicing with her for her evident joy at hearing those words.

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