Last night St. Bonaventure hosted Jack and Jamie McAleer of 4PM Media and formerly Krispy Kreme doughnuts for a talk on “Thinking Life Over Again: A Story of Discipleship in the Family”. Fr. Dave Pivonka was there but attending just as as a listener. The church was a powerhouse of prayerful people.
The talk was as named – stepping thru their life story all the way to how they are where they are now and how following God and choosing God has brought peace, clarity, and proper perspective.
My biggest takeaway from the night’s message was when Jack talked about saying
“no” and “yes” to God and how we each say “no” and “yes” from time-to-time but that when you say “Yes” to God he hands you the next opportunity to say “Yes”. And I was like “Yes!! Exactly!!”. But then I distracted myself by thinking about my own testimony and how I would have said that even if you say “No” you still get opportunities to give that next “Yes”.
At the end of the night there was a time for fellowship and refreshments. I was surprised at how many people I knew there – and it was nice to talk with everyone for a little bit. I had thought about talking to Jamie, Jack, and Fr. Dave but each time I turned around they were in a discussion. So eventually I realized it was still light out and I could run some more (as I had driven up to church to run prior to the talk but only had time to do 2.0 miles) — so I popped out figuring I could run 1.0-1.5 miles and maybe if I get back and people are still there I would go back into church and try to talk to them just to talk to them briefly.
I finished up 1.0 miles and decided to head into the church – but as I re-approached the walkway to the entrance Fr. Dave Pivonka, Jamie, Jack, and Fr. John Sweeney were walking out. They were about to cross the street so I literally almost ran into them — I slowed up, I semi-made eye contact. But what I did not do was stop.
Why in the world did I not stop?!
Jamie spoke to me and joked about how I was a familiar face going by. I smiled. But I couldn’t think of anything to say to that until I was past them. And when a few steps later I thought “Say thanks for the talk!” I still did not turn around.
Yes, I am socially awkward this I know. So that was part of it. But also I know I thought “They are done with the night. I don’t want to bother them.” But only too late did I realize God was seeing if I was paying attention to Him and really ready to give Him a “Yes”. I was not.
Because if I had I been I would have been “Oh the three people I wanted to talk to! Right here in front of me! Available for me to talk to! Even just say “Thanks!”.”
I like to think I’m good at giving God my “Yes”. But clearly I have some work to do. I’ve gotten lazy apparently because I am not actually listening and paying attention to God but instead am caught up on myself (“Incurvatus in se!“ as Fr. Joe Freedy would say).
This avoided interaction, this missed opportunity to say “Yes”, this literal “running into” someone — I tossed, I turned all night about it. I prayed to God to let me fret over it for 15 more minutes and then accept it and move on. But all night it sat as a distraction on my mind, disrupting my sleep.
So thank God for that. Because He made me more aware, more conscious, more reflective, more “get over yourself!”. And He made me write this blog post. Sure this blog post may not seem all that great to you, but I think He is making me write it for me. Maybe next time I won’t have to say that I went and “Gave God My ‘Maybe Next Time'” but instead I’ll be able to say that I went and could “Give God My Yes”.
And actually it is better I didn’t speak to them. Mainly because all I really wanted to do is talk about me. To specify some self-centered discussion topics I thought about telling them:
- Jack is from a family of 8 kids. I wondered what number order he was since I am 1 of 9. [This is a standard question from all of us from big families to other people from big families, but it still was more about me than him.]
- Thanks for making 4PM Media because The Wild Goose Is Loose is amazing and I love it.
- I love Fr. Dave Pivonka. I wouldn’t be able to tell this to his face, especially since I don’t personally know him. But this is the love I feel for people when I am attracted to their soul — their soul casts a net that brings others to God. Everything he does is incredible! I loved his Steubenville Conference talk from 2016 (see this post).
- So points #2 + #3 don’t seem so bad… But I did want to be brave enough to mention to them that the concept they are all about is “Give God Your Yes”. “And oh by the way I blog at givegodyouryes.com. And hey, here is this business card I made and maybe check it out?”
So given my inability to have normal social interactions I love that I can blog. But to tell people about the blog feels awkward. And to write about awkward things feels awkward. Not sure why a life lived awkwardly doesn’t feel any less awkward at this point — oh wait, I know why — I have lost proper perspective — It isn’t just about me + my feelings/thoughts. What it really is about and should be about is God. When He calls for a ‘Yes’ I am called to respond with that ‘Yes’, no matter how awkward it may feel.
Now I live with the “what if?” I had stopped and had that small chat. Who knows what God had planned to do with it? But since I failed to find the “Yes” I just need to remain attentive for the next time He asks for my “Yes”.