Conversations: A two-way street

John Cabela's FoxStarting a t-shirt business in the middle of winter is not the smartest thing I’ve ever done.

Our shirts are meant to spark conversations, but temps below freezing makes showing off a t-shirt pretty difficult.

But Saturday we had a bit of nice weather so, at my lovely wife Shannon’s suggestion, I wore my Ready to Rock shirt under a long-sleeved shirt, that I kept unbuttoned.

We decided to spend the early part of the day kicking around shopping since our daughter had Saturday school to pay back some of the snow days the district racked up this year.

We went to one of my favorite hang-around spots, Cabela’s in Rogers. I walked in and one of the sales folks came on strong, pushing a store credit card which I already have, not taking a polite no-thank-you at face value, and that started me into a mood.

Then my wife got a call right as I was about to ask her to help me pick out some shoes. I wandered around looking while she chatted and then I  began to fume. Did I tell her I needed her help when she finally hung up? No. I just just kept fuming.

Next we tried to take some photos of my shirt with some of the many Cabela’s creatures in the background. My wife tried to make it fun. She cracked jokes and tried to come up with some funny captions for the pics she was taking. I continued to be jerky and refused to smile. Granted, I never smile in photos but it was still pretty juvenile. A nice lady wandered by and offered to take a picture of both my wife and me next to the various stuffed wildlife.  My wife was friendly and polite. I was icy.

With my wife’s patience worn pretty thin, and me continuing to act like a punk, we made our way to the car and headed for lunch.

We went to one of our best lunch spots, Fish City over in the Promenade, and I continued to sulk.

Our waiter, Carl, was cheerful and friendly. He was being a decent guy, something I’d not managed to be for hours.

Then he said it.
“What’s on your shirt? Samuel has my favorite Bible verse in it.”
“It says “Ready to Rock,” I replied. “But you have to see the back to get the full effect.”

I shucked my outer shirt and stood up in the restaurant, showing him it had 1 Samuel 17:40 on the back, the part when David is getting ready to go out and face Goliath and hear Carl say, “Cool!”

As I sat down Carl said, “My favorite part is when Samuel is told by God to anoint David over Saul. I like when He says to Samuel, ‘People look at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.'”

We chatted a little more about 12th Apostle and the idea of having shirts that got people talking to each other about God.

Carl’s interest and enthusiasm slowly turned my mood and attitude around.

It took me a while to put the pieces together (granted, being an ass can make you dim) but I realized Carl had been put squarely in my path to make me understand that our 12th Apostle shirts, like any good conversation, are two-way streets, a give and take, a chance to listen as well as to talk to be ministered to as much or more so than to minster.

Thank you Lord for giving me a chance to meet Carl. Thank you, Carl, for starting a conversation. Thank you Shan for not just punching me in the throat.

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