I walked away from Matt in a strange place. I had a full day already and I didn’t want to go out anymore. In fact, I didn’t want to talk to anyone much less meet someone new. But as my wife so kindly reminded me…this is what KNOWvember is supposed to be about. And so I opened my heart and mind to meet the right person. And that was Matt.
He was sitting alone on a park bench. He lifted his head up when I said “hello.” And he told me his name after I told him mine. But more importantly he invited me to share the bench with him.
Since it seems to be a theme this year, we broke the ice with a discussion of Matt’s most unusual tattoo. Two severed limbs holding hands that he and his wife got in lieu of wedding rings, two days before their wedding day just four months ago.
Matt’s savory. Rachel is sweet. He’s a chef. She’s a baker. They are both trying to make it in their careers and more importantly in their newlywed stage of life. Matt started baking when he was five. By ten he was cooking. “I wasted $55,000 in culinary school.” I told him I wasted $75,000 in seminary. Like our passion for cooking, his sarcasm matched mine. Truth is we both do what we love to do.
And while I’m being truthful, here’s the real story. I can’t tell you. I’m not allowed to. In fact, my $75,000 education led to an ordination that forbids me from disclosing what is confessed to me. Within the first five minutes of our conversation, Matt was sharing his heart because “it’s easier to talk to a total stranger. I’ll never see you again.” And talk we did. We had much more in common than cooking, cartoons and sarcasm.
Matt drives past this park every day but has never stopped. In fact, he left the house needing to “get away.” He walked one mile, to a place he’d never been. And had no idea what he would find. We talked. We teared up. And at the end we hugged.
It’s strange how comfortable we allow ourselves to be with strangers. If only we could always be that way with those we love. But sometimes you have to put yourself out there in order to find what’s already inside you. I walked away finding something deep down inside me. My own calling might not be how I expected it, but boy was I grateful I spent that all that money so I could be there for him.
I gave Matt my business card – which was a miracle I had my wallet with me and there was a card in it. I don’t know if he will call or continue our conversation. Until then, I’m thinking I need to get a tattoo of a severed arm just in case our limbs cross again in this strange universe we live in.