First, a video for your viewing pleasure…

What do you think?

I cringe every time I watch it. You can feel the awkwardness in that room.

But I love how the situation is resolved. Grace from the most unexpected place.

I brought this up with Ordinary Spouse last Friday night while we were walking around downtown Chicago. I was thinking about how I experience cities in much the same way. I’m out-of-place and always on the defensive. My gut reaction is something akin to fear – fear buried deep inside me – but fear, nonetheless.

I suppose that this is a conditioned response – that we are on guard in unfamiliar settings as a means of protection. Yet I wondered, should it be that way? What would Jesus’ gut reaction be, if he encountered 148 bikers in a movie theater?

Later that evening, I actually got tested. A man on the street walked up and asked if I wanted to have my shoes polished. I declined, but he kept on talking. I stopped so as not to be rude, and he bent over and said something like, “Now don’t kick me!” Before I realized it, he had squirted some lemony-scented liquid onto my shoes (which were actually brand new). At that point, I was left speechless. As he was busy pulling a cloth out of his bag, I think I must have given OS some flabbergasted look, and we just sort of wandered off. OS handed me a cloth from her purse that I could use to wipe off whatever it was that he put on my shoes. And for the next half hour, my thoughts vacillated between incredulity, amusement, and a nagging question. How does one respond in that situation?

And then I got a second chance…

OS and I were making a big loop around our hotel. As we were on the return trip – on a different street – we were again approached by a man. “Is this the same man?” I whispered to OS.

“Hello, sir! Would you like your shoes shined!”

I was practically bursting out laughing as I said, “NOOOOOOOOO, THANK YOU!”

But I thought after the fact that I should have offered to take the guy out for coffee.

Now as I sit here typing this, I wonder, “Might that man have been Jesus to me, offering to wash my feet?”

Forgive us, Lord. We don’t know what we do. Transform us by your love, which removes the fear from within us.