My stomach is feeling a bit uneasy. It's possible that I'm hungry (I popped some popcorn just in case), but more than likely my gut is responding to the conversation I had an hour ago. Because it was a rather intense conversation to have with a complete stranger. I was finishing up a section in my book called "Beer" when a nearby patron at Coffee Depot decided to strike up a conversation with me.
"I caught you."
"What do you mean?"
"You know, I caught you pretending to look at your computer screen when you were looking over at me."
Okay, so true. Yes, at one point I was looking at him. I usually do take in my surroundings; this is an especially good thing to do when you are driving.
I politely continued the dialogue, not minding a small break from my book writing. But then he started asking questions... spiritual questions... and I knew my book writing was done with for the evening.
So we talked about God for a while; he was raised in the church, but his current claim is that he is an agnostic. I happen to have my copy Erwin McManus's new book - Soul Cravings - with me, so I asked if he was reader. He said yes so I offered the book, and he offered me the book he had been reading - a book of poetry by Walt Whitman called Leaves of Grass. He said that he wasn't finished with the book and that he'd like it back; I said the same - which means he and I will be meeting up again in the near future.
But he didn't want to talk just about God. He also wanted to talk about love. (Which is somewhat ironic being that God is love.)
"What do you think it means to be in love?" He pulled out his journal. "If you get to use any of our conversation in your book. I'm at least going to write down your answer in my journal."
“That’s fair enough, but I don’t think I have a good answer for you. I could talk about love being a choice or the intense longing to be with someone, but…” We dialogued for a bit attempting to formulate a good definition.
He then asked, "Have you ever been in love?"
"How did you know?"
"I almost hit another car." (Actually I did gently bump into another car; the story is in my book) "And when things were over between us I wanted to commit suicide."
"Yeah... like trying to figure how many pills it would take?"
"Actually I was trying to figure out how long it would take to fill the garage up with carbon monoxide. That's how I knew I was in love." He and I were both smiling. We did our best to stay lighthearted, yet we both knew the painful reality of losing someone you'd give anything to spend the rest of your life with.
"So you're not dating anyone?"
"Nope. I don't have much luck when it comes to guys."
“Why do you think that is?”
“I’m 5’8"? I honestly don’t know.” That’s been the mystery question ever since I entered into high school. What makes Katrina Blank undatable?
“Well, you’re certainly an attractive woman and you’re easy to talk. You can actually hold an intelligent conversation.”
“So my fiance… or exfiance… she thinks I need some time to be by myself. I’ve always been in and out of relationships, never being without a girl for more than a month.”
“Maybe it’s time you start looking at God.”
“My dad…” He continued, telling me how he has been wounded by his father. But wow, what an interesting response to my suggestion.
I left Coffee Depot wondering why I had been dragged into this man’s spiritual journey and feeling responsible now to uphold him in prayer. And as I drove home I continued to think about what it means to be in love. Tonight I miss Shane.