I had coffee with my dad twice last week.
‘Coffee with dad’ is what happens when my parents are ‘concerned’ about what I’m ‘doing with my life’ and think I could use some ‘coaching.’ Twice in one week is unheard of.
Our first meeting at Starbucks (my choice. Tengo muchos de los naipes de regalo de mi graduación) he said: “Why don’t you join a team and raise support?”
“Well, I don’t want to be a missionary.”
“We don’t believe in missionaries.”
I was talking calling, he was talking semantics. Discussing missions with my dad is like discussing guys with my mom; no matter what I say she draws the same conclusion. And my dad’s his own sort of matchmaker. Though he wouldn’t (heaven forbid) let me near anyone young, male and hormone infused (except my brothers). Within the hour I was paired with a couple burgeoning team leaders headed for a country I couldn’t spell, remember, or locate on a map, and they were completely convinced of the supreme agreeableness of the match.
I griped. My dad pestered. I caused domestic infractions. My dad made cryptic remarks to my friends. I skirted the issue. Eventually, he dragged me out of bed in the wee morning hours (like 8:00) for second a meeting, at McDonald’s (his choice. Café con hielo muy bueno y barato), he said: “What do you want to do?”
“Two things. I want to be a writer . . . ”
“Well you can write anywhere. What’s the other thing?”
“I want to not live in America.”
“This sounds like your kind of shtick.” (He may not have said shtick, but he had a point.)
“Yes, but . . . ”
There’s this thing about missionary teams: they usually want missionary members.
So me and my prospective team leaders met at the Coffee Gallery (third coffee meeting. ¿Por qué yo?). Where I was going to genially tell them that I’m glad they’re considering me for their team but I want to be a writer. Instead we talked for four hours. About gifting and dreams and the future.
They didn’t even blink when I told them what I’d told my father, and they laughed when I said I had to look their country up in an Atlas. They had had to also. And when I said I ached for the sheer amount of need in the world and wanted to meet it as best I could and saw myself being able to do it in these certain ways they said they saw themselves doing those things, too.
And when the meeting ended we said we’d pray about how to go forward from here. We’ll meet again Wednesday to make a semi-permanent decision on whether or not to go ahead with plans for me leaving with them this time next year.
How about that?
Since I don’t think that I’m the only one who has vested interest in my life or hears from God about it, at this point I would generally consult all the bastions of wisdom in my life. But they’re all busy as heck and, time being short, I’m writing here–hoping no one will feel out of the loop or hesitate to give their opinion in comment form or talk to me later. Cheap, I know. But effective.