pensive corridor meetings with my boss’s boss

In certain situations, there are certain adjectives that are just not preferable, no matter how accurate you feel they are.

In the situation of a girl without make-up: “tired,” “worn-out,” “haggard” are clear no-no’s.

In the situation of a girl on her period: “sensitive,” “hungry?” “cranky.” Nope.

In the situation of a girl having a crisis of faith, however small: “sad,” “dejected,” “so downcast o my soul.” Stop.

It takes a person of some wisdom to instead ask such a girl why she’s looking so…”pensive.” Instead of what she probably really looked like, which was probably something like “too apparently sad. and at work, at that. because she has no emotion filter.” or something like that.

It takes a person of some deep care to ask such a girl a few days later about how’s she’s doin’, still. call her “miss,” probably not even knowing how nice that sounds to her unattuned ears.

Cause then, that girl might just respond openly (albeit…pensively) and share with you her thoughts of late — about how there’s no archaeological evidence of the Jewish slaves’ exodus out of Egypt, about how she can’t remember those salient times when God seemed to have been real in her life, about how she’s still believin’, but how it’s just confusing and hard sometimes, but how she’s just trying to be honest about all that, instead of trying to be a preemie-wise sage, for once.

And then you might just proceed to have a conversation in a quiet corridor tucked away in the building next door, weirdly next to a mothers’ lactation room and a bunch of vending machines by which she keeps getting distracted. A place in this building that you’d never been to before, though you have worked at this place for 30-some years. You might just try your hardest to get through to this stubborn girl who isn’t even a nonbeliever but keeps asking you those nonbelievers’ questions — “how can you say this is divine appointment” “what if everything is just random” “what if I don’t believe in this whole construct so none of this makes any sense to me” — just because her heart feels hard and empty. You might still keep trying. You might remind her:

  • there’s something innate in us that causes us to have faith in a whole bunch of things that may or may not be reliable. such as other drivers on the road. and a whole lot of food servers in the course of a lifetime.
  • there’s something innate in us that rebels against death. it seems unnatural and wrong to us and we wish for some more time and we wish for more than just this life. (because we are eternal beings. we were meant for eternity, Ecclesiastes 3:11 “he has put eternity into man’s heart.”)
  • feelings are unreliable. they can shift about and make you feel so sure one moment, then so uncertain the next. so how can you base your faith on such a thing. how can you even trust that certainty in the moment. faith is not a feeling.
  • when God feels far away, it’s not He who has moved, but you. He’s holding ya in his hands.

Which are probably things she already knows, has learned before. But still, the reminders are good. They just might hit home and break the crackly veneer of hardness that was starting to choke.

And then, you know, she just might burst into tears right there in front of that lactation room and all those vending machines — so private yet so public — and you might have to offer her a hug and a prayer. Both of which she will gratefully and unresistantly accept, for the first time in a long time.

With answers to questions she may have been searching for in her old journals or something.

2 thoughts on “pensive corridor meetings with my boss’s boss

  1. Question: Do you believe the Bible is the literal truth? As in Exodus must have happened for the Bible to be valid?

    Also, I don’t think fear of death is universal and necessarily natural, especially for everyone. I don’t mean losing people or accepting our own temporary existence on the planet Earth is easy. Would anyone really want to live eternally (on Earth)? Probably some people. But I think that there’s some peace of mind in knowing we’ll eventually pass away. It gives us (or at least me) motivation to consider my daily actions and whether they’re bringing me happiness and fulfillment. And especially, having seen the agonizing pain some of my relatives have been in before they died, I think that death, no matter what your belief system, can be a blessing depending on your current circumstances (I am specifically thinking of my grandma, who was in constant pain and no longer of sound mind before she died, and really had no quality of life at that point.)

  2. I’m going to answer in order.
    1. No, not wholly literal, but God-breathed and free of error.
    2. Nope again (at least not necessarily), the contents aren’t necessarily what gives the Bible its validity but its originator. But because of my answer to number 1, I believe that the events described within the Bible to be true, as much/little as I can make sense of it all.
    3. When I said “rebel against death,” I definitely did not mean that Christians are wanting to live on Earth forever. Quite the opposite, actually. That Ecclesiastes verse is talking about something like…a feeling that tells us there must be something more than our earthly existence. That we look forward to more eternal things (like heaven!). Because the original design was for us to dwell forever, in God’s presence, never experiecing physical death (as in the Garden of Eden). Does that make sense?

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