Tonight I dropped Jon off at his softball game and went to grab groceries. Look, I know it seems bad that I didn't go to the game before heading to the store... but... its been like 3 weeks since my last grocery trip and we were starting to live like savages.
So, I thought I'd hit up T.J.'s, my ol' standby, but as I drove past Ralph's I pulled the switcheroo. Sometimes you think you're pullin' the switcheroo and you're actually being steered by God. No joke.
(Please don't judge me for this next part)
I was perusing the aisles when I heard what sounded like a couple of bro's making silly voices... maybe making fun of something. I thought "ugh, a couple of lame guys being lame. I hope I don't run into them"
Just then, a guy (who looked strikingly like Zach Galifinakis) turned the corner followed by a young man who appeared to have quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Those noises were the young man struggling to speak to his friend as they shopped.
My lil' ugly heart sank deep into my rib cage. Oh... those... weren't... bros...
I smiled at them as they passed, then kept on stocking my basket. As I snaked around each aisle, I kept running into them. Right in the middle, like clockwork.
Finally, somewhere between the pasta sauce and the canned veggies, we stopped dead center. The young man turned to meet my eyes and said "Hi!"
"Hi!", I shouted back, somewhat taken off guard.
"What's your name?" he slowly, sweetly asked.
"Carly. What's YOUR name?"
Friends, we were.
We carried on. He asked if I was from the South. He's an Iowa boy, himself. "No", I said, "but my husband's parents are" . ( Ladies, sometimes you gotta drop an H bomb. Husband...bomb...that...is...err)
He asked about my job and I got to telling him about our lil' church. I told him he should swing by sometime, and that we love new folks.
He paused for what felt like 5 minutes. " I don't like to get up early" he said, with a twinge of hesitation.
"Well neither do I! Our service is at 6 pm! You can sleep in all you want and still make it to church.. I'm just sayin' Cody"
He smiled and immediately started nosing(literally) his iPhone that was rigged to his motorized wheelchair. He was opening his calendar app. He wasn't kiddin' around, this Cody. He asked me to type in the details so he could make it to the service.
We wrapped up our churchy plans, and I told him I was looking forward to seeing him sunday. I was already kind of buzzing with a sense of this being so strange and lovely when he held out his hand, curled into a ball.
Just as I was about to say "See ya later, Cody", he boldly asked if I could say a prayer for him.
"Right... right now?" I asked.
Before he could answer me he had placed his balled up hand near mine. I grabbed his forearm and said " Well, okay!"
Knowing nothing about him I just... prayed who knows what in the middle of the canned food aisle of Ralph's.
We parted ways and I told him I looked forward to seeing him Sunday.
I guess you just never know. You never know when God might want to remind you that because you're his kid, you're not the average bear, and you aren't going to have average experiences. Just like our biological families, no matter how much we think we don't...we carry him with us. As believers, we carry Jesus in us.
So I guess we shouldn't be so surprised when we find ourselves in situations that seem absurd... but just stink of Christ ( in a good way).
Thanks be to God, that when we hand over our stories to Him, He makes them rich with strange beauty.
Thanks for the run-in Cody. Can't wait to meet again.
Carly Calmes the First