Have you ever noticed something about yourself and before you had a chance to fix it.. someone else noticed as well?
The other day I was in the car with a handsome lad and decided I wanted to put my hair up. We were in his car so I quickly utilized the passenger seat mirror to do just that. It was a bright and sunny afternoon so the sun rays glared into the car. The sunlight is an interesting thing. It can brighten your day, bring a smile to your face, warm up your heart and oh yeah.. magnify the little hairs on your face. As I attempted a quick fix to the hair, I noticed my upper lip and quickly thought ... It's time to get my eyebrows did and the upper lip as well I quickly stole a glance at the handsome lad, noticing he was focused on the drive and talking about something that slips my mind at the moment. I scanned my mind, immediately organizing the afternoon schedule. The handsome lad took me to lunch with another so-so looking lad and his friend. After lunch, on the drive back, I was once again in the car alone with the handsome lad. In the middle of our conversation, we both laughed and as I turned to look at him, he had an expression on his face as if he had discovered gold. But in a matter of nanoseconds, he shut his face off and asked me to turn towards him. Uh-oh...
If you're thinking what I was thinking, I immediately thought ... did he notice what I did earlier? He was embarrassed to admit it but after some stealth persuasion and careful avoidance of the actual words "you have some excess hair on your upper lips" or "you need to get your upper lip waxed" it was obvious we were on the same page. I guess when you least expect it ... something a little mortifying can happen like that.
I normally go to two different Asian ladies for facials once a month in my hometown because 1) It's super cheap when you buy in bulk and you're the oldest customer paying the old prices since your face had horrific acne at 16; 2) they're family friends so you continue supporting them and 3) skin care is important if you refuse to wear foundation or powder on a daily basis. Having two ladies is great because when one is busy.. the other is usually free.
Elisa was free. I got to Elisa's and as I settled down for a quick 15 minute wax session, I relaxed and closed my eyes. But again.. when you least expect it....
Our conversation started as Elisa commended me for going to Church. Elisa is a very devoted Presbyterian Christian. I was not sure if she knew I was part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints but I would soon find out. She continued about how great it was and how great Jesus and God were and then as I agreed, she asked me to pray for her.
"Huh?" I asked.
"Can you pray for me?" she asked.
"Right now?" I asked. "What do you want me to pray about?" what an odd request, I thought!
"Well, how do you end your prayer?" she continued.
"Oh!" I was starting to understand where she was going. "In Jesus Christ" and as I began to say "Amen" she joined me in unison.
"That's what we say!" she exclaimed.
She asked me why I started going to Church and in my broken Chinglish, I attempted to explain struggling once more about how to say spirit and resorting to a lot of discussion about coincidences, emotions, and emptiness fulfilled.
"So what's so different about your religion?" she asked.
How does one say prophet in Chinese?!?!
Suddenly, I remembered - I had a missionary translation guide from Mandarin to English in my car. I told Elisa I could tell her the Chinese word for prophet if I got my guide after our wax session. The interesting thing was.. she had another appointment at 2 PM and it was about 2:15 when I left... hmmm, coincidence?
I got my book, showed it to her and as she looked through the translation guide, she told me.. "we believe in the same thing," and I chuckled - "yes!" I said. I began to tell her about the misconceptions people have and we started talking about what was hard. I told her refraining from alcohol was hard at first but even more were the lifestyle changes such as daily scripture study and keeping the Sabbath day holy. I saw her face light up with curiosity and she proceeded to ask me more. When I told her about not working and also not going anywhere where others worked, she nodded and told me she really needed to work on that as well. We talked about the commandments and then.... she leaned over as if to tell me a secret and asked me... "is it true the men can have multiple wives?" she was dead serious, as are many people when they ask.. so I explained it to her.
We kept talking and I offered to take her with me to the Chinese Ward the next time I went and she eagerly accepted. I told her she'd probably understand everyone more than me and she nodded with excitement and I really did see her teeth sparkle when she smiled. Then, she asked me if I had anything she could read in Chinese and .. when you least expect it .. yes...I did! I had obtained a Book of Mormon in Chinese for my parents but had been unable to get them to read it and though I was praying for them.. I knew they were on the 5 and 10 year plan (mom and dad, respectively) but how wonderful to realize I was armed with the appropriate tools to share with her! Elisa was excited and so was I. I had this amazing missionary moment... and .. who would have known...
I guess when you least expect, something wonderful can also happen.
When you least expect it...