Too Good to be True
Inspirations sometimes come from the most unexpected of places.
Since I left my corporate life and my regular paychecks, I have made a conscious effort to cook and eat in as much as I can. Cooking saves money, and I love to do it, which is a win-win. Gone are the days where I would spend loads of money eating out. I consider myself a spender more than a saver. Nowadays, I’m much more budget conscious and less inclined to throw money over my shoulders left and right like I used to do.
In that effort to control my expenses, I’ve been to Kroger’s regularly during the past few weeks to buy grocery for my dine-at-home experience. This afternoon, that Kroger’s errant was again in demand. However, something unexpected occurred. As I was leaving the store with my cart well stocked with a week worth of food, two well-dressed, beautiful young ladies approached me. My first thought, me being me, was that “wow, I didn’t know that being an entrepreneur has increased my market value so much that beautiful strangers would now come and talk to me.” My experience with ladies has not always been like this, of course. I almost always am the one who gathers up the courage and approaches a lady whom I find to be of interest. The odd of her taking an interest in me is, of course, another great matter for debate, which we will not go into today. So, there I was, at Kroger’s parking lot, mildly surprised that two beautiful girls were approaching and wanting to talk to me. Had I kept the presence of mind in that moment, I would have noticed their little black name tags near their hearts, and that they were both wearing dresses. As it turned out, it wasn’t my sudden appeal or my beautiful black hair or even that proud peppery walk that got these ladies to come over. Well, maybe those things did have something to do with it. But, the root cause of this sudden event was that these two young women were Mormon missionaries. They wanted to talk to me about faith and Jesus Christ.
At that moment, some might have chosen to provide a few canned and curt responses about their highly-vaulted belief and walked away, but that had never been my way. Instead, we proceeded to have a very nice conversation that lasted for a good 15 minutes about what I believe to be the purpose of life, about their faith and that of mine. One of the Sisters, sister Pugmire, even had enough time to pull out her Book of Mormon and read me a verse in it about how faith could open ourselves to wisdom. This is what I love about America! As strange as that was, and from all my travelling, I don’t think it could have happened anywhere else in the world. There we were, two Mormon Sisters and me, standing in the parking lot of Kroger’s, our hair blowing in every direction conceivable due to the constant breeze, unbeknownst strangers just a moment ago, now discussing deeply personal questions about our beliefs. I looked at their faces, filled with innocence and a mild determination to spread the words of God, quietly admiring their willingness to take the risk to expose themselves and talk to a stranger like me on such a sensitive topic. As the conversation went on, I quietly thought to myself that I could use some of their courage when I approach people about my business ideas… The scene was all but perfect, a little snapshot of the everyday America that I had come to deeply appreciate. It was too good to be true, yet it was true, just not in the way that I originally imagined.
I proceeded to tell the Sisters that I was not a Christian, that this topic had been something that I had contemplated for a very long time, since my first day in this country 11 years ago, that my purpose was to live a good life, and that, after all that time thinking about it, I still could not bring myself to believe in the existence of a Creator as described in the Bible, as much as I sometimes wished I could have. Sister Pugmire, the more experienced missionary of the two, asked if I would like to have them come over to my house sometime to continue the conversation. Much to my astonishment, I found in me the courage and the honesty to respectfully decline that request. “It is a conversation that, at this time, I think is best left to me and God,” I said.
After a few further exchanges, we parted way, content to have discovered each other’s existence, however briefly. I’m glad that the Sisters stopped me. I’m glad to have stopped and talked to them. Life is filled with these little moments of surprises, and if you take the time to pause, open yourself up and receive them, you will be surprised by the good that comes as a result.
I suppose then, that happiness should not be defined by our most daring achievements or moments of supreme exuberance. There are too few of them in life to count on. Instead, happiness is about finding joy in the most mundane and common of places. Only then will we find happiness in abundance.