I was describing to my husband a conversation I’d had for which I was deeply thankful. As we were getting ready to leave (at least one of us had our shoes on, and the lights were getting turned off), astudent had asked me a seemingly random question. I answered it and, through God’s grace, figured out a way to ask her what was behind the question. Was it about her or somebody else?
Even though we had been ready to leave only a minute before, we stayed talking for a while – my being blessed with her sharing more about herself and her life and her questions about what next. All the while, I was hoping and praying that I might listen well and give whatever care I could.
When I described the experience to my husband, he referred to as a “‘hand-on-the-doorknob conversation.”‘ He explained that these are the conversations that come up, often unexpectedly, as the pastor is getting ready to leave. A question, the weight of which might be more than either the pastor or asker realizes, comes up. And it is a hard moment – because perhaps the question is just some random thought and everyone is ready to go and move on to the next thing. But perhaps the question is really significant, which means that one turns aside the thoughts of being tired or wanting to move on and becomes fully the pastor again, giving the asker one’s full attention and care, listening to God in the midst of all of it.
Both the experience and my husband’s description of like episodes were helpful. It is my hope that they I become more aware about wanting to ‘check out’ too early as well as realizing the deeper layer that can be involved in seemingly random questions.