I went to the laundromat tonight. Wow! More clothes than I have ever washed before. I was a bit tired and on edge. I noticed this when after I put my clothes in the washing machines I went next door to shop at a discount grocery store. A guy was talking on his cell phone pretty loudly, and then periodically laughing a whole lot. This bugged me. I tried to control my inward frustration but I just couldn’t wait to get out of that store.
When I got to the laundry mat, there was a lady who was talking to herself from time to time. This really bothered me. “Can’t people just be quiet,” I thought impatiently. After about ten minute of me just wishing this lady would disappear. She said, “Isn’t laundry just endless?” I said, “Yes, I ran out of all my clothes. I had no choice but to wash them. In fact, last night I went to a banquet and wore some nice clothes except under my nice jacket I wore a T-shirt with a rocket on it.” She thought that was hysterical and we both laughed.
I told her that the banquet was a fund-raiser for a pregnancy crises center. The conversation moved along in a lovely sort of way. My judgements had all dissolved. I found out that this woman had an abortion when she was young. She accidentally went to a Catholic hospital where they were very judgemental and told her that the Presbyterian hospital could probably help her. She had the abortion. I couldn’t help thinking that if this Catholic hospital had been willing to accept her and have a conversation with her, that abortion could have been avoided.
I remember what Bruxy Cavey of The Meeting House church in Toronto said in one of the many sermons I have been listening to. He said to ask questions if you want to share the gospel. So I asked her questions, and found out that after her two-year old had been murdered, she decided that abortion was wrong for her. She shared a lot about her life, and at the end of our conversation, I asked her if faith was important to her. “Yes, it is the only thing that keeps me going,” she said. “In fact, after my two-year old was murdered, I remember driving down the road and crying. I pulled over and said to God, ‘Please don’t let me lose my faith.’ God was faithful. I didn’t lose my faith.”
She said goodbye very lovingly, and I was so glad that I could release my judgement of her. Of course I don’t want to judge anyone. Each person is precious and valuable to God–that is another thing that Bruxy encouraged his listeners to do. See people through God’s eyes. (I forgot that one)
There was a person who I thought was a woman who was sitting fairly close to where we were. I said to this person, “Hey, I hope we didn’t bother you with our loud conversation. I was just in the store and wishing someone else would not be so loud–and here I am, being loud.” The person, who when he spoke helped me to realize he was a man, said, “Oh, I am not easily bothered.”
We ended up getting into a conversation. I asked lots of questions including near the end, “Do you have a faith?” He shared how he had been turned off by Christianity and religion in general. He didn’t know if God existed, and he thought that if he was just kind to people everything would be all right. I didn’t argue, and if I had more time I would have asked more questions. (Thanks Bruxy, that was a good suggestion–I really do love asking questions anyway.)
During our conversation this man mentioned that he loved to watch the television series, “Dr. Who.” I noticed another man who smiled at this comment. I had also judged this person as being kind of weird. (I have to confess, I am more judgemental than I like to admit. I really thought I had gotten better–but tonight I was really back sliding)
So I said, “You look like you are interested in this topic.”
“Oh yes,” was his enthusiastic response. His face lit up. “I watched Dr. Who when I was a kid.”
They had a long dialogue about Dr. Who while I listened happily, thinking how great it was that people were meeting in the laundromat like this. No one left out. I liked that.
When the man who most recently joined the conversation left, he said quietly to me, “God bless you–you are doing so great.” I think he had heard my conversation with the woman who had the abortion.
“Goodbye, honey. Have a good night,” was the last thing I heard from the agnostic guy.
I hope I planted some seeds. I know that love was shared. I pray for more opportunities to share Christ with people right in the moment. It was a good night at the laundromat.