As usual on the fourth Monday of the month, it’s time to lighten things up and enjoy one of my many dizzy blonde moments. Here’s another winner…
My family has always told me that I spend half my time living in my own little world. This has never been more true than during the last year while I’ve been writing my novel. I’ve spent five days a week, eight to ten hours a day living in the fictional village of Jubilee, Michigan, with characters from my imagination. And when I’m not writing about them, I’m thinking about them. Sometimes, I almost forget which world is real and which is all in my head.
And sometimes, I completely forget.
When I’m suffering from writer’s block, I often close my computer and get out of the house, hoping a change of scenery will jump-start my creativity. On one of those days, I decided to drive to Kohls Department Store to see if shopping for new clothes might help. Armed with a thirty-percent-off coupon, I strode through the automatic doors and scanned the store, wondering where to start my discount adventure. That’s when I noticed a couple from church, Norina and John, standing at the check-out counter.
I walked up to the counter and gave them both a hug.
John held up a bag. “I just picked up some things for vacation.”
“We’re going to Florida,” Norina said, “and John needed a few more pairs of shorts.”
“Wow,” I said. “I bet it’ll be nice wearing shorts again.”
They both gave me odd looks. Finally John spoke. “Well, I guess, although we’ve pretty much been wearing shorts until last week.”
Now it was my turn to give them an odd look. What were they talking about? The temperatures had been well below freezing for weeks, with snow piled high and people bundled to the hilt to ward off the icy wind.
As we stared at each other, it finally hit me.
I wasn’t in Jubilee, Michigan, where my fictional character was currently enduring another sub-zero January day while she slipped on ice and watched her dog’s slobber freeze. No, I was just down the road from my non-fictional home in Romeo, Michigan, on a pleasant October afternoon.
“Ah, well, yes, of course,” I said, trying to cover my stupidity (though, obviously, not very well). “I just meant, like, still wear shorts, again, you know?”
“Oh, sure,” Norina said after a pause. “That’s true.”
One of the many things I love about Christian people is their remarkable ability to respond with grace when someone has clearly lost their mind.
I wished them a safe trip and scurried to the misses section, thinking about what a ding-dong I was. And worse, I was thinking about Norina and John thinking about what a ding-dong I was. The next time we met, would they act like they were uncomfortable around me? Speak to me in simple, one-syllable words?
When I saw them a few weeks later, Norina and John greeted me with their customary hug and warmth, and told me all about their wonderful trip to Florida. Never, ever, did they bring up my bumbling comment or make me feel foolish.
It’s almost a year later, and sometimes I still think about my encounter with Norina and John at Kohls, especially when people say things to me that would be perfect for their own version of “Dizzy Blonde Chronicles.” And, if I don’t know these people well enough to engage in some friendly teasing and instead find myself tempted to roll my eyes or look at them as if they grew two heads, I remember the grace that Norina and John extended to me. And I try to do the same.
Come to think of it, I’ve never thanked Norina and John for their unconditional love or told them how much I value their example of how to act like Jesus.