He came to our church one Sunday morning accompanied by his wife and children. A friend had recommended us, and they'd come for a visit. Since I'd never seen him before, I moved quickly to introduce myself and make sure they met several other people who could make them comfortable. • First impression: late thirties, a bit reserved, comfortable in his own skin, at ease when meeting new people. • Over the next few weeks, our paths crossed several times. He and his wife not only came to worship services, but they lingered in the Commons where people drank coffee and enjoyed extended conversation. It was clear that they were soon making friends. • Where were they in terms of faith? I had no idea, so I decided to find out by inviting him to breakfast at the Egg Shell Restaurant, my usual meeting place.
When we met there, I started with my favorite question. "Would you tell me the main events in your life story in three minutes?" The crazy question always elicits laughter, but is followed by a serious attempt to do just that: summarize life's highs and lows.
In this case, the lows involved a horrific childhood only barely survived. Highs: a wise decision in finding a good wife and a business that was doing quite well.
Spiritually, the present moment was one where there were questions about life's future direction. Thus the decision to try church for the first time.
Then he turned the question on me. "So what's your life story … in three minutes?" I swallowed my own medicine and offered it. He asked me about my job, and I described what was important to me and why I liked what I did. He appeared interested in everything I was saying, and I felt that he was measuring everything I said to see if it could fit into ...