I’m very surprised to say that TWICE in my life, a man who appears to be in his early sixties has asked me a random question that has radically changed my life. I don’t know who either of these men are, what their names are, or anything about them whatsoever.
The first time a man said something to me that would normally sort of piss me off (because who the heck is he to ask me questions?), I was working as a cashier at Whole Foods and the man I was ringing up said to me, after staring at me: “What are you doing here?“
I looked at him, my heart softened, and I said point blank: “I have no idea.”
His asking of that question changed the course of my life and at the time, I knew it was a sign from God and I knew I needed to move. I started telling my friends, “Well, this is probably our last beer together. I am moving.” “Where to!??!” They’d asked me in surprise. “I have no idea,” I said with a shrug and a secret thrill of excitement. I had no idea, but I knew I was moving.
Now I’m living that life, the one that stranger sparked deep inside of me.
Fast forward to today, and I was at the beach (yes, we have BEACHES in small towns in Wisconsin!! I was surprised, too), reading a book that God gave my best friend via Free Little Library. That book is Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber, and it has transformed my life. I’ll probably write about that later, but just know that I was in the ending pages of that book, it was close to 100 degrees outside, and I decided I better take a dip in the water.
If you know me at all, you know I absolutely hate to be cold. I hate it hate it hate it. It’s really difficult for me to get into rivers and lakes and really any water that isn’t a blazing hot shower or bathtub. So even on a day like today, I inch my way in.
If you know me at all, you might also know that sometimes it’s hard for me to let go of certain wrongs or people who have hurt me. Even if they hurt me by doing something before they even knew I existed but it makes my present life difficult. Yup, that’s me!
Enter second random *older* man to change my life (in what I would normally consider to be a slightly annoying situation.) I stood there, waist deep in the water. I closed my eyes. Sunscreen was stinging them, it was bright, but I was also praying. Yes, praying. I was praying about some of the hardest parts of my life. Bits of my heart I desperately want to change. Thanking Jesus for my friends and my family, my health and my dog. I went back to changes I know I desperately need. I asked over and over again: change my heart in these particular areas. Please.
Then that guy started talking to me. He was floating about ten feet away. Thick white sunscreen slathered all over his entire body.
“What are you doing?” He asked me.
“Enjoying the peace,” I told him, truthfully.
“It’s nice to do that. Are you going to get in?” Like it’s any of your business.
“Yeah, eventually,” I said.
“It’s nice to get in the water inch by inch,” he told me, sounding like an expert.
Feeling like I wanted to not take advice from a man, I semi-defiantly said, “Yeah, but I plan to dive in.”
He looked at me like I was the one interfering upon his peace, and said, “What are you waiting for???”
Suddenly I wasn’t annoyed at this man whatsoever – but instead knew the Holy Spirit of God had entered my life again, and that this was more than just water that felt cold to my wimpy skin.
I looked at him and said, “You’re right,” and dove in. I swam underneath the water, my heart pounding, body slightly shaking. When I rose up out of the surface, I looked at that man and gave him a thumbs up.
That was the end of our communication. But it was far from the end of the experience for me. I am still shaking as I write this, actually. God showed up in other ways, too, before I left that beach. In ways that are too precious and personal to even write about right now. But He was there. He was there through the words of the book I was reading. He was there through the words of a stranger, answering my desperate plea for change by answering with “What are you waiting for?”
So what are you waiting for?
Maybe now’s the time to dive in.
All the love,
Melinda (who isn’t proud of the fact that I was so judgy about advice from men [but what can I say, sometimes it IS annoying] )