Friday, November 27, 2009

Coffee and Hebrews

"I'm looking to talk to someone who doesn't need to cook a turkey," said the approaching woman in the parking lot outside of Starbucks. I smiled politely, with my wife's venti Peppermint Mocha Latte in my left hand, and my car keys in my right, poised near the car door.

Then my spirits sank as she pulled out religious paraphernalia. For some reason she wanted to quote Hebrews 3:4. As she flipped through the pages, I wondered just how long I'd have to stand there before telling her that I had to go. After all, it was Thanksgiving morning, and my sole contribution to the holiday was to buy enough of a caffeinated beverage for my wife so that she would have enough energy to prepare Dinner. Then my perspective suddenly changed dramatically when I imagined this stranger to be an angel sent to give me a personal message from the Universe.

She found the verse and read it out loud, "For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God." And then she handed me the December 2009 issues of "Awake!" and "The Watchtower". The cover of "Awake!" featured the intriguing question, "Does the Universe have a purpose?" It's a question I've increasingly been answering with a resounding "No!" And then just as suddenly as she appeared, she bade me a Happy Thanksgiving. I responded in kind, and I thanked her both for the happy holiday wish and for the pamphlets. As she turned to go, she asked, "You will read them, won't you?" "Yes," I assured her. I watched her walk into the Starbucks, and I thanked the Universe for yet another topic for a blog post.

In case you're wondering, I am reading the pamphlets. In fact, when I got home and gave the latte to my wife, I then fetched the bible and read the verse to her, in case the message was not for me but for her. "Awake!" also has an article titled, "Young People Ask How Can I Talk to My Parents?," which I read aloud to my daughter while she played Webkinz. These are published by Jehovah's Witnesses, a group regarded as non-violent terrorists by my parents. If they came to the door, I'd have to hide, and we'd pretend that no one was home. So I have this quandary about reading these pamphlets, as if I were reading a communist manifesto.

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