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I wonder why I always imagine the worst when it comes to one-to-one meetings?  I guess maybe I’m not the only one who thinks that way.  Today God showed me it’s not a very smart thing to do.

Several weeks ago one of our men made a comment on his communication card about the music of the morning, that it was difficult to feel like singing heartily.  He signed his name, thankfully,  so I could follow up with him (we don’t read unsigned comments but once).  He’s not a complainer, a pretty positive guy, so I dropped him a note inviting him to coffee to talk things over.

We bumped into each other yesterday at church and as we talked, he asked me straight out.  “You wanna have coffee?”   (Of course I did – peace and understanding are pretty high on my list of things to pursue!)

So we dug our cell phone/pda/planner/whatever-else’s out of our pockets, poked around a bit, and discovered that Monday -this morning- looked pretty good. We locked it in.  8:00. Coffee shop.  See you then.

While the next 20 hours weren’t too bad (thanks to his being a soft-spoken, generally positive guy) I imagined the worst I thought he might say and tried to think of the best way to explain my perspective and philosophy without attacking his.  I was ready and in control when I came through the door.  We exchanged smiles and greetings, and I ordered my coffee.  After some small talk / chit-chat I opened the subject.  “So let’s talk music a few minutes.  Are you still having the reservations you expressed in your note a few weeks ago?”

“Nope.  Not at all.”

“Serious?!”

“Honest.  Everything just seemed out of sync that one day and you’d mentioned at the beginning that we could send comments in on the communication card, that the staff pays attention to what we say, so I thought I would.  You sent me the e-mail invite to coffee right away (sorry it’s taken me so long) but the next week everything was back on track, obviously a one-time deal.  I said to my wife  ‘I think last week was a glitch or something.”  So no… we’re good to go!”

“That’s good news,”  I managed.  All that prep and a little bit of fretting.  For nothing, I thought.  Actually I’m glad I thought things through again.  Truth always stands up to scrutiny and I was prepared to take another look at how we’re doing things. DID take another look – just by myself, pre-conversation.

We talked more, and I remembered that Sunday was a day we tried something new, something we knew by noon we weren’t going to keep.  We had a pretty good laugh about it. Before we parted company, I had another usher, and a possible core leader for something we’ll start in the fall.  It’s great when men are able to talk face to face, straight-up, with God’s best interests in mind.

So,  friend, thanks for the good conversation this morning.
Thanks for signing your comment card so we could follow up and bring closure.
Thanks for being optimistic and hopeful.  I look forward to what God continues to do at Calvary Memorial  (or as we sometimes say, “Calvary – Gering”)

You know, I’m thankful I didn’t spiz out of control this time around.  I was ready to listen first, listen most. Then, confident I knew his perspective, explain the rationale behind our approach, without going on the defensive.  I didn’t have to go there.  I still wonder why I imagine the worst before potentially difficult conversations. Think it has anything to do with the fact that I’m human?  Like…  100%?    Could be.

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