I think — while I wait in lines. We women do. We mull over business concepts, solve interpersonal issues, and offer heartfelt prayers … all while we pass time. After all, we’ve learned to squeeze moments empty. Empty of joy. Empty of smudgy faces with wide smiles. Empty of opportunities. Not a drop gets wasted.
That’s why, while waiting in line to have a two minute conversation with Author, Jon Acuff — I regretted tossing my daughters packed lunch from the day before. A wasted opportunity, perhaps? I mean, Chipotle does it. McDonalds does it. Starbucks, even. Why can’t I?
Why can’t I plaster the outside of a paper bag with quips and musings? I mean, in case my thoughts are interrupted — I’d have a back up plan. Something to minimize the distraction of my barging in to-do list, or quite possibly, the sound of the guy in front of me enjoying his fizzy soda. Slurp. I could hand the words scribbled in black to Jon Acuff with a smile — my earthy canvas flavored with wit and…um…peanut butter? There would be no time wasted. Because women understand the power a hundred and twenty seconds can hold.
So I’m just guessing. But if you wanted to catch your Pillsbury Rolls on fire (without even trying), it could be done in less than two minutes flat. And if I was a betting woman, I’d say you could ram your vehicle into the vehicle parked behind you — even after three reminders from your husband — in about one minute and forty seconds. Also, I’m thinking it takes exactly two minutes, with the dryer set on cotton, to shrink your daughters favorite sweater into the perfect fit for her little sisters baby doll. Yes, a lot can incur in a short amount of time. Slurp. Slurp.
Although, according to my family, I’ve never been good at the “short version.” Surprising. Considering my mom — all five foot two inches of her — knew a short conversation could lift a soul higher. Like a whispering breeze that carries a sail across the sea, my mom power packed almost every conversation with a few short words, “Clean up your room,” and “I love you.”
When I got caught smoking in the woods at a young age, no lengthy debate ensued. No thunderous cracks or comments. My momma, meeting me on the front porch with one sentence: “When you feel like you’ve sat out here, and thought about it long enough … come inside.” I sat there until my rear cemented to the stoop, my moms arms peeling me away. The next day, a note on a napkin read — “I forgive you.” The words outlining the colors of confusing days. I received lots of notes. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be the last lesson I’d have to learn. While schoolmates wiped their faces, I stuffed love in my pockets. Everyone needs love they can carry with them.
Jesus knows this full well. His words — many times brief — holding mysteries and breathing life. After all, earthly light flipped on with one allowance, “Let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3, NIV). No showy bravado or excess air. Short commands filling tall orders to, “Go and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11). Or, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk!” (John 5:8). And just one word from Jesus, heaved Peter’s shaky legs over splintered wood, steadying his feet upon water.
There is something deep within me that relates to Peter. Obviously, I’ve never walked on a wave. (Unless you count the time I tried to water ski and forgot to let go of the rope.) But I see myself more clearly in Peters flaws. Peter questioned. “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” (Matt. 14:28). He just wanted to be 100 percent sure, like some of my queries. “Lord, did you really mean it when you said I should forgive?” Or, “Lord, I’m not sure what you’re doing here, because this isn’t anything like I’d imagined it.” Yes, life goes crooked, dreams fade into a background of gray, and my heart beats fast in panic until I hear the one that called Peter out to sea. “Come.” (Matt.14:29).
With an utterance the Son of God invites us to join Him. To trust him for uncertain days, and to love Him no matter what, while He does the same. He is my safety net — He is my backup plan.
And it’s a good thing too, because I really don’t think the two minute conversation with Jon Acuff went very well. My goal: to let him know I found his book, Do Over, helpful. Especially after reading it over and over again. I also wanted to tell him it inspired me to blog and do things I didn’t feel confident to do like Instagram (or Latergram), depending on the day. But nope! I didn’t say any of those things. What I did say, was that I would give his daughter 365 days of sugar-packed Pudding Snacks if she so wanted them. Ehhhh??? Slurp.
Let me just recap my random ramblings. Jon Acuff had shared with the audience earlier that day, the concerns of his young daughter. A letter in which she described — to Mrs. Michelle Obama no less — her inability to swallow even one more carrot from her health-packed school lunch. Her plight so desperate, she not only wanted pudding, she neeeeeeded pudding. I’ve definitely had days like that.
That’s why, when it was my turn for quick witted words, all I could think about was the huge frowny face his daughter had artfully penciled on the page. And pudding! Lots and lots of it.
The author so polite while nonsense about pudding spewed from my lips. Slurp. Did Jon Acuff, in his right mind, question my mommy skills, business savvy and overall good judgment? I’m not sure if he did — but I did. I think I mentioned his book and my blog progress. I think I also mentioned the need for him to sign into my blog, incognito-like, as Juanita, if he ever happened to leave a comment. What??? Somebody please stop me!
And I ask you, where is my brain jotted down on a paper bag when I need it most? Even now, playing the conversation back in my head doesn’t begin to soften the blow. Or erase the subliminal message of, “Awwwwkward.” I mean, really? I was a mom-pushing pudding snacks, for goodness sakes!!! I might as well have mentioned I could also fix him up with high fructose pixy sticks that would rot his child’s teeth out quick and easy like. Yes, the whole two minute conversation went different than I’d pictured in my mind. Way different. But now that I’ve had time since then to stand in another line and think. I think next time — I’ll pack the paper bag. I may even slip in a pudding snack or two. Because you never know when you might neeeeed it. Slurp. Slurp.
If God had a paper bag with words written on the outside. Words for you—and you alone. What would those words say? What does he want you to know? A paper bag sits in front of me, a reminder of what God is telling my heart today…Trust Me More.
Please leave a comment and let me know what your bag says. I would love to hear from you. Plus, it would enter you in a chance to win the Freebie!!