I love airports. Granted, I’ve never been stranded in one for more than 6 hours. However, I find them the best places for meeting intriguing strangers and shameless people watching. I like to imagine folks dancing as they walk past me onto the next leg of their trip. Anyways, on my last flight, I sat next to a sergeant major coming back from a two year tour in Afghanistan. At let me tell you, he was Mr. Chatty Cathy. But it was awesome! We talked about everything from education in America to politics to marriage to favorite movies and countries. He said he was sorry for talking my ear off but I have a feeling it one of the deepest conversations he’s had in a couple of years. We also talked a lot about religion and he often apologize for “offending” me as a religious person. I simply smiled and told him to offend away.
He called himself “Non-denominational” as in he believes in God with no particular affiliation to any organized church. His wife is Catholic so he tends toward that.
And then he asked me what I do.
And I choked.
I just couldn’t say missionary. I talk instead about my current careers as an art teacher and photographer. I just felt so inadequate, so presumptuous. I didn’t want to be labeled as one of THOSE people.
And I feel I’ve shamed myself and my faith.
But honestly, the shame has emboldened me mostly because it was a reality check. If I’m committing to this, then I can’t simply dabble in it depending on the people I meet. I can’t go half way on this. Yes, there will people that have negative connotations with the word “missionary”, but this is the opportunity to break the stereotype. I am proud to take the road less traveled (probably because I hate traffic) but it’s about time I own this whole path that’s been laid out for me. Because it’s not actually shame of what I’m doing but fear of what others will think.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” ~2nd Timothy 1:7
“So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me.” ~Hebrews 13:6