I was at a BP station buying two large cappuccinos–french vanilla for Pam, a caramel for me. A young black gal wearing a dress, very pretty, came up beside me and stood there for a few second.
“Excuse me,” she said finally. “I have a magazine you might be interested in reading. It has some good articles about stress and….” She mentioned some other articles.
As hot liquid poured into a cup, I looked at the magazine. It was a small-sized publication called “Awake.” The page she held open showed the name “Watchtower.”
As I suspected, she was a Jehovah’s Witness.
“No thank you,” I told her.
I then continued filling the cups, and she continued standing there, waiting her turn.
“I’ll bet you’re from Jamaica,” I said. Pretty obvious accent.
“Trinidad and Tobago,” she said. “We’re not far away.”
“So I was close,” I said. “I’m sure you would recognize the difference in speech between a Jamaican and someone from Trinidad, but I can’t.”
We exchanged a few more words, the I headed to the cashier while she got her own cappuccino.
As I drove away, I felt the conversation had been incomplete in two ways: I hadn’t given a reason for my lack of interest in “Awake,” and I hadn’t affirmed her. Here’s what I wish I had told her.
“I’m an evangelical Christian. But though we share different beliefs, I want to commend you for having the courage to share your faith with other people. I don’t want to wish you success, but I do admire what you’re doing.”
Maybe next time.
So–what do you think would have been a good response to that young woman?