To understand this story, you first need to know a bit about my dad. My dad is a wonderful man, a centered and well-thought-out man, a man of integrity. He loves his wife and his kids and has a work ethic rivalled by few. He’s got a big heart and a strong opinion. He loves God; and that – his faith – is the crux of this particular tale. This story takes place at his then-current work locale, on some evening, around some tables.
The people with him were coworkers; men who’d made no secret of their thoughts on my dad’s beliefs. But my dad had never made a secret of his faith either; he was questioned and challenged enough that he had answered enough people to have his faith turn into common knowledge. The atmosphere seems almost jovial to me, whenever I hear this story; they would tease my dad and sometimes the challenges would turn into deeper conversation. The point that you need to take forward, though, is that they were relentless in their pursuit of making him explain himself. They got a kick out of it, you could say. They thought it was funny that he believed in God and lived by faith. “It was known,” he said, “I didn’t believe in luck or fortunes.”
Finally, my dad smiled and sighed and cracked open the cookie for a room of rowdy grown ups.
Once he read his fortune, the men shut down immediately, and nobody wanted to talk about it anymore.
Because this is what it said:
“Your prayers will be answered.”
“It was a real good conversation killer,” says my dad when he retells the story.
I love this story. Something about seeing my dad calmly reading aloud a fortune to a room of men, who had hoped for more ammunition, kills me (wink. Holden reference. That was for you Sharelle). I like it more than that, though, because it reminds me how important it is to have a sense of humor about these things, from all perspective points. Had my dad gotten riled up and defensive, the story would not have had the same smart ending. It would have ended with a negative, instead of a noteworthy positive.
I wonder how many smart endings I’ve missed by being reactive instead of unruffled. Perhaps my North-American-Need to be RIGHT! and defended is actually losing me out of some of life’s best moments. If there is a corner to turn, or an edge to soften out, it might be in that exact location: reaction. How we react to people and their differing opinions will determine how they understand our beliefs, almost exclusively.
I suppose it might be stories like this one (above) that make me less afraid of difference; in people, in belief, in decision. Like maybe those fortune cookie moments are everywhere, and because we are too busy walking away in righteousness, we miss them.