As we traveled the last two days, I watched an interesting phenomenon--actually two. The first came as Lisa and I took our "Southern ways" with us to Seattle. We greeted many of the people we met and tried to engage as many as we could in conversation. Lisa is especially good at this. It's fun watching her as she makes people feel so comfortable in conversation. We met gate agents from California, an elk-hunting grandmother from Washington, a taxi-driver from Northern India and a hotel clerk from Oregon. There were doctors from Brooklyn, nurses from Texas and a CFO from Dickson, TN. As we carried on these conversations, I learned two things. People are genuinely surprised when someone really engages them in conversation and...despite what we are told...most people like it. None of the people ran from us. None of them told us to bug off or to stop our chatter. They simply responded with sincere conversation and "friendship."
We've been taught "down here" that Southerners are friendly and the rest of the world isn't necessarily so. That may be a cultural reality for a lot of places but people--the real flesh-and-blood individuals--like to know that someone cares.
Here's the second phenomenon. After I spoke, I had numerous Christ followers who came up to me afterwards to thank me for coming, for sharing Josh's story and for talking about faith. There were comments like "thanks for talking about your faith" and "thanks for bringing God inside our organization." The funny thing is...He was already there. He was sprinkled all over that organization in salt and light. He was the face of a young man, an older administrator and a broken-hearted daughter who had watched her father die recently. He was there in the numerous individuals who pulled me aside and looked with hunger in their eyes as if to say, "Help me show God to my work place."
He's there. All over Seattle. He's in the Presbyterian Church that was doing street missions at Pike Street Market. He is there in the mother of four who wants her daughters to grow up making wise choices for their future. He is there in the Mars Hill school that occupies a downtown building. He's there in the senior adult who said, "Thanks for doing what no one else has done thus far...bring Jesus to our workplace." Oh, He is there, my friend. Long before I got up to speak yesterday morning, Jesus was walking the halls of those hospitals. He just needs to be sprinkled a little more generously and shone a little brighter by the ones who already occupy those spaces.