With a new job come so many fun things to tell about the new and the old... some fun people...
So, I was having lunch with a new coworker-Kadie, she choked (mildly) on something she was eating and (as is the occasion so often for me) was concerned that she now had something in her nose. She sniffled and wiped and excused herself, but continued until I finally confirmed for her that there was nothing in her nose. I went on to relate a story of how Agnes and I had a pact when swimming (the nose is notorious for running when you're at the shore). If one of us had a "bat in the cave" when swimming, the other one would simply say, "you do". We never had to ask if we had something in our nose - we knew that the other had our back (so to speak).
Kadie laughed, "what a great idea..."
I went on to fill her in on all the other "secret messages"... one fave was the agreement with Charlie and Peter (guys I had worked with); if one or the other of had our fly down, the noticing party would simply say, "Look up here." It was our cue to check our fly, while anyone outside the circle would simply "look up"... it worked like a charm.
She laughed at this one, "Ingenious! Now, where did you work with these guys?"
-Well, years ago I worked in a church. I was a pastor.
"That's so cool! I'm an amateur burlesque dancer on the side!"
Now, this remark took me by surprise for a great many reasons. I have to admit that the leap from pastor to "stripper" for me was a big one - and yet, oddly enough, made absolute sense to her.
"I am! Tho I admit, I'm not very good at it."
-Buttons can be tricky...
"Ha, no, it's more about the singing and dancing than it is about taking off your clothes."
(this was news to me)
-So you sing?
"um, not well..."
-But you dance.
"No, not really."
I was pretty much out of awkward questions that I was willing to voice. So instead I decided to continue with what seemed to be the whole train of thought...
-yeah, I was a pastor for about 5 years.
"How did you ever get into that?"
So, it looked like she was going to ask the questions instead...
It was quite the conversation; I explained that I had preached on occasion and enjoyed public speaking... I told her about my one Christmas eve sermon.
Charlie had decided he'd spend Christmas eve sitting with his wife and kids in the pew instead of running the service and... that I could preach, do whatever I wanted. So, I pondered it for a while and decided that I'd simply tell the Christmas story in my own way - I like to write poetry - tell stories in rhyme and metre - so, I set the Christmas story to rhyme and I was very pleased with it. I decided that instead of standing behind the pulpit I'd memorize the piece and deliver it walking about the platform - I find that much more engaging. It worked for me, but I couldn't help getting the sense that it just wasn't working for the crowd. I made the most of it.
After I finished there came the time for the candle-lighting part of the service; the lights would dim and each person at the service would light their candle from the person next to them as the church slowly filled with light...lovely. The pastors would carry lit candles and start the lighting at the end of each row. Charlie and Peter came to the front of the church to get their candles. As Charlie took his candle and walked to light it from the glowing candle near the piano he turned to me and said,
"Look up here..."
My fly had been down the entire time I had preached. ...and no, I couldn't stand modestly behind the pulpit reading while nicely ventilated down below...
My parents were in the crowd that night - perhaps the only time they'd ever heard me preach; mom's comment on the evening was,
"The next time you're going to prance around a stage in your underwear you might want to pick a color other than green."
...and as it turns out, I've not pranced around a stage in green underwear since...
....i suppose that every line of work has its own kind of exposure....