Friday, December 27, 2013

A Tale of Three Places (Part 1)

Place One 
You pull into a parking lot.  It is more crowded than you thought it would be.  Maybe you should just go home and try another time.  After all, you feel a little tired today anyway.  But, Joe at work has been inviting you for months and you keep blowing him off.  You have to at least go once to get him off your back.  You find an empty spot in between two minivans.  You find those things annoying, but you have to take the spot since you are late as it is. 

You make your way through the front entrance, unsure of where to go or where to find Joe.  You walk by several people who look at you and say hello.  A few give you the “what’s up” nod.  Seems like a friendly enough place, which both puts you at ease and makes you a little nervous all at the same time. 

It’s not the nicest place you’ve ever stepped foot in.  It could definitely use a paint job.  The carpet seems stained and dated.  The seats don’t look overly comfortable either.  But you realize that none of that seems to bother anyone.  They all seem to be having fun.

Out of the corner of your eye, you see Joe waving with a wide smile on his face.  He makes his way through the crowd and greets you.  He guides you over to where he is sitting and introduces you to his friends – Sam and Eric.  They both extend a warm and sincere greeting to you. 

As you sit down, Joe starts telling Sam and Eric more about you.  They take a genuine interest in your story.  You are surprised at how quickly you open up to them.  They don’t recoil as you share some of the struggles you have been facing in your personal life.  They don’t seem taken aback when you tell them you are separated from your spouse.  They understand.  You suddenly feel like you are part of the “group.”  As you prepare to leave, everyone expresses how good it was to meet you and sincerely extend an invitation to come back again.  You find yourself looking forward to coming back. 

You get in your car and before you pull out of the parking lot, you look back at the building and say to yourself, “Bob’s Tavern – I could get used to this place!”

Place Two
You pull into a parking lot.  It is more crowded than you thought it would be.  Maybe you should just go home and try another time.  After all, you feel a little tired today anyway.  But, Joe at work has been inviting you for months and you keep blowing him off.  You have to at least go once to get him off your back.  You find an empty spot in between two minivans.  You find those things annoying, but you have to take the spot since you are late as it is. 

You make your way through the front entrance, unsure of where to go or where to find Joe.  You walk by several people who look at you and say nothing.  A few look at you and seem put off by what you are wearing.

It’s not the nicest place you’ve ever stepped foot in.  It could definitely use a paint job.  The carpet seems stained and dated.  The seats don’t look overly comfortable either.  But you realize that none of that seems to bother anyone.  However, none of them look overly excited to be there either.

Out of the corner of your eye, you see Joe waving with a wide smile on his face.  He makes his way through the crowd and greets you.  He guides you over to where he is sitting and introduces you to his friends – Sam and Eric.  They both extend greetings to you. 

As you sit down, Joe starts telling Sam and Eric more about you.  The more they hear, the more they seem to be creating a list of things they need you to do.  You start wishing Joe would shut up.  They seem to recoil when they find out that you are separated from your spouse.  You quickly realize that you are far from being a part of the “group.” 

As you prepare to leave, everyone expresses how good it was to meet you.  But you can’t shake the feeling that they have an agenda behind their interest in you.  You find yourself looking for a reason you won’t be back next time. 

You get in your car and before you pull out of the parking lot, you look back at the building and say to yourself, “First Community Church – I hope I never have to go back there!”

To be continued…


No comments:

Post a Comment