I am visiting my dad and mom this week in their little western Kansas town of 6,000 people. Earlier today dad and I were running errands. We pulled up in front of a store and dad saw some old friends. I was getting out of the car — my car with out-of-state plates — and dad says to me, "Walk over to Bill and Katie's car and tell them I want to chat with them."
"Dad, I can't do that. I don't even know those people. Besides, you're sitting in my car with out-of-state plates. Dad, that's weird. I think you need to go over yourself."
"That's not weird," dad countered. "They know you very well. They watched you play basketball in high school. Besides, Katie was my secretary for years. She'll remember you."
"Dad, listen to me. I played high school basketball before cars ever made it to northwestern Kansas. I cannot go over to their car and tell them my dad, Darrel Follis, is sitting in a car with Illinois plates and would like to chat with them."
"Oh for Pete's sake," dad said. "I'll do it." And, thank goodness, he did.
All of that got me thinking about how to let the Fruit of the Holy Spirit ripen and even overflow when I get in those predicaments. How I show love and joy and the peace of Christ? How do I remain kind and gentle when I feel incredibly awkward and embarrassed? How do I stay comfortable in my own skin when I really just want to crawl way back into my skin and become invisible?
Good grief, you'd think I'd get better at this after 150 years and 150,000 predicaments. Geesh…