i think we all would have pages to fill of things we'd do over again if we had the chance. the one that comes to mind for me right now happened this past saturday morning. it didn't really dawn on me that this was an experience worthy of a mulligan until i "tweeted" the experience and was asked in reply by my brother how i responded.
it was one of those nice, lazy saturday mornings that we all hopefully have every now and then: sleep in...read the paper while drinking coffee...grab a book...etc. and then the doorbell rang. i'm already a little frustrated at the interruption to begin with, hoping with everything inside me that it doesn't require more than a quick hello/goodbye from me. as i opened the door, two women were standing there...dressed up and eager to talk. they had to have been cold from the frigid, rochester wind (i was just standing inside with the door open and i was cold!). they started asking questions about faith and religion, and immediately here's what was going on in my head:
1. i really want to ream you out for interrupting my saturday morning and then slam the door shut.
2. what makes you think i'll talk to you about this right now in this setting when i've never met you before in my life?!?!
3. who ever came up with the concept of going door to door...and why didn't you poor women get the memo that it doesn't work anymore?
thankfully i didn't respond in any of those ways, but rather, i politely answered a few of their questions, took their literature, gave some obvious clues that i didn't want to talk, and wished them well. all in all - it was a 90 second conversation...and i deeply regret it now.
fast forward to sunday night. i'm with my junior high guys small group - we had just gotten done with a massive nerf dart war at the church and were setting down to discuss a chapter from the case for faith by lee strobel - the chapter was all about other religions and tolerance and jesus' very INtolerant statement in john 14:6. we talked about how we don't need to be experts in all the world religions out there...we just need to know the truth and what we believe. at the same time, we talked about how it helps us go a long ways with others when we genuinely try to understand someone else's point of view.
we wrapped up the discussion with me encouraging the students to try to get into a conversation this week with 2-3 of their friends at school - not to try to "convert" them to anything, but to just have a casual conversation asking them what they believe and why they believe it - being genuinuely interested in their point of view in order to start a conversation.
and then this morning it dawns on me that saturday morning i slammed shut a wide open door to do exactly what i just encouraged our students to do. here's what i wished i had done saturday morning:
i wished i had welcomed the two women in and introduced them to shanna (who's way more hospitable than me)
i wished we had offered them some coffee and a seat in our living room
i wished i had been more honest and up front with them in answering their questions
i wished i had asked them, as someone who doesn't understand their point of view at all, to simply explain what they believe because i was genuinely interested
i wished i had been more concerned about them as individuals
but...there's always next time...