Thursday, November 25

inspiration during a snowstorm


Avi was an avid church goer, not because he believed but because he was seeking passion. Some churches didn’t have it, but the small southern Baptist church on the outskirts of Kansas City did. What it lacked for in size it made up for in devotion. The parishioners of this church were the kinds of people who attended at least three times a week, volunteered with a mission group, and watched evangelical tv while eating dinner. Their answering machines said “Don’t forget that Jesus loves you!” and they told everyone they met that they were Christian. They were truly and fervantly passionate about their beliefs.
Every Sunday Avi would sneak in, take a seat in the back, and watch as a hundred people praised, sang, worshipped, and prayed. It was amazing to him to know how strong the connection between all these people were, to see their threads of life stretch upwards and meet together, all loving God. It was the ultimate groupthink.
Usually, his timing was perfect: step in right as the service was starting, leave as soon as it was finished; no one had a chance to notice he was there and speak to him. He preferred it that way in most situations. When people spoke, they asked questions. When people asked questions, he had to answer them—and it wasn’t always pleasant.
It was late November and someone new was at the service. Avi noticed the moment he walked in the building; the dynamics were different. There was a boy, front row, 18 years old, senior in high school, birthday was yesterday, son of Mary—probably the most passionate and involved member of the church—his favorite color is orange and his cat’s name is— Nice kid. Not religious. Avi sifted back through the information to find his name. Daniel.
The reverend talked scripture and morals for a good two hours like normal. When the final prayer had ended, Mary stood. “I’d just like to remind everyone,” she said, “that our Thanksgiving potluck will be tomorrow. Please bring a side dish or desert, and of course your love of Jesus. God bless.”
Her eyes caught on Avi and she immediately hurried over to him, her son in tow. “I don’t think I’ve seen you here before,” she said. “I’m so happy that God has brought us a new brother in worship. Aren’t you, Dan?”
Daniel mumbled an agreement as Avi offered his hand to Mary. Instead of shaking, she wrapped him up in a hug. “Jesus was a hugger,” she said, smiling. “Nothing so impersonal as a handshake for a brother.”
“I’m Avi,” he said. “I’ve been coming to services for awhile, but never really met anyone. I’ll be coming to the dinner tomorrow, though. There’ll be plenty of time to get to know everyone.”
Mary’s grin grew even bigger. “Do you hear that, Dan?” She elbowed her son out of his stupor. “Someone your age will be there!”
The reverend approached at Mary’s side, and she excused herself to talk to him. Daniel and Avi were left on their own, to Daniel’s obvious discomfort. “Well,” he said after a few seconds of silence, “I better get going.”
Avi looked at him pointedly. “You have plans after the dinner.” He tried to say it like a question.
“Yes…”
“You probably shouldn’t come. It’s supposed to snow. Could get snowed in.”
“It won’t snow.”
A smile touched the corner of Avi’s lips. “It will. See you.”

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