So i spent most of yesterday at the hospital hanging out with a student who's mom was in surgery. While we were playing cards, "B*llsh*t" i believe, some relatives of the woman in surgery came over to say good-bye to us. THey'd been sitting with her grandmother.
After the formal introductions, and upon hearing of my vocation, the couple began telling me of their daughter who went to seminary in the 80s and then was hired to be a singles and senior adult minister and wasn't that weird? and their daughter-in-law was a receptionist once at FBC in waco. yes i knew the church, my own seminary met in their building for several years before we got on own on baylor campus...
blah blah, the usual. but then this woman says,
"Well, I'll be praying for you. Ministers do hard work dealing with us." I glance over at Donna and Kelly (these are pseudonyms) who both go to my church (and are therefore my "parishioners"), trying to discern where this conversation was going.
"Yeah, it's hard dealing with all us stubborn sheep. We're just wandering around all stubborn, I know. So I'll pray for you. You're doing good work."
I giggled nervously. "But I like my job and the people I work with." The woman went on and on about how she knows but she also knows sheep go their own way and ministers have to take care of all of them...
Um... "Thank you." I said finally hoping she's stop talking.
And the couple left. Thank God. My two friends burst out laughing and I began apologizing profusely.
"I'm so sorry that woman called you sheep and called you stubborn! I don't think of you like that, I promise!"
"It's okay," Kelly said, "I know I'm no walk around the park. Besides she was probably just commenting on me since I'm her niece and I have no manners."
"But y'all do as much ministering to me as I do to you!" We laughed some more.
Either way, the three of us agreed that that was the most awkward conversation: one woman expressing her theology while putting one person on the spot and offending everyone else.
Hmm. Maybe it wasn't so uncommon after all.
And we returned to playing cards.