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Archive for June, 2021

Since the start of the pandemic, most mornings I drive to a local chain-store coffee shop for their steeped tea. Sometimes I order a breakfast sandwich or a donut, most days it’s just the tea. Over the past 16 months or so I’ve developed a friendship with the staff who work the early shift, in particular a young man called “G”. His nametag is one letter…”G”.

He is tall, slim, dark haired, olive skinned, wearing a turban and sporting a beard. He is Sikh and is originally from the Punjab in India. He came to the town where I am after finishing school in the next city over. He loves it here, with the four seasons and wide open spaces. The first time he saw in me uniform, wearing a clerical collar he was surprised, but didn’t say anything.

As we were approaching Holy Week he noticed I was in uniform every day. One day he asked me what it was I did for work. I told him I’m a priest and a minister. He stopped, smiled and slowly asked how it was possible for me to be those things, as I’m female. And so we began sharing little pieces of our stories with each other.

He wished me Happy Easter on Good Friday because he knew a holy day was coming up soon.

I asked him where he attends Temple as our town is too small for a sikh temple. He goes to Calgary, which is 3+ hours away, but only gets there a couple of times a year.

We have talked about God. We have talked about faith. We have talked about prayer.

Most mornings now, when I hear him on the loudspeaker I greet him by name, to which he responds with my name and asks if I’m having “my usual”. He is someone I look forward to seeing as his bright smile and peaceful disposition brighten my day. We almost always discuss the weather.

He has started asking about my congregation and when we can open the Churches again. I told him we were having an outdoor service and he asked if I could let him know how it went…so the day of the Outdoor service, I stopped before Worship for my tea, then after worship I stopped by again for another celebratory tea and he was thrilled when I told him it went well.

I thanked him for organising the good weather and he smiled broadly, bowed and said “you are most welcome…any time at all”, and we laughed.

The other morning I was feeling rather haggard. I’m sure I looked rather haggard and “G” asked me, with concern on his face, if everything was okay. I told him I was feeling overwhelmed but with a good cup of tea and an afternoon nap I should be okay.

As I was about to drive away he said “May God bless you this day” and I thanked him profusely.

This morning he said I was looking better, more rested, and I thanked him for his concern. I told him how much I appreciate seeing his smiling face and seeing him brightens my day. He said he looks forward to hearing my voice in the speaker and on the days I don’t get there he gets somewhat concerned. But he knows my job is ever-changing and perhaps I am taking a day off to be away.

I thanked him for his concern and told him that his blessing meant a lot to me. He told me he prays for me most every day. I told him I do the same. We both smiled then he said “I may not call my God the same as you call your God, but at the end of the day, there is only one God to whom we both pray.

In different circumstances we would have a distrust of the other because we are so obviously different. And yet, because we have taken a couple of minutes a day to say hello and to share some of our story, we now have a better understanding of who the other person is, and that God is central in both of their lives.

To that I can say only one thing: Thanks be to God. Amen.

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