Andrew and I live conveniently next to I-40. Convenient meaning that we can just hop on and head into town. Not so convenient when you can hear the hum of the traffic and the "d-d-d-d-d-d" of the semi's when they hit they're engine brakes in the middle of the night.
Now, when you live next to the interstate there are going to be an abundance of gas stations around.
A couple of months ago, on Good Friday, I was heading into work but needed to get some gas... so I pulled into the station nearest the on-ramp of the interstate. Usually, if I am getting gas in the morning that means that I am past empty and I was a major procrastinator the day before. I zipped into the station, got my gas, and then headed into the store to get a small coffee and a blueberry muffin (yum!).
As I approached the counter I noticed that there were two middle-eastern men standing behind the counter whispering and pointing at me. I took notice but kept working my away around the small store searching for the biggest blueberry muffin I could find. Once I had my goodies in tow, I made my way for the counter. One of the men was older than the other and quickly left the counter to go and sit in front of a little television in the back. The man at the counter smiled politely and started ringing up my muffin and coffee.
Once my items were rung up, in the bag, and in my hand... I started to turn around to leave. "Thank you!" the man at the counter said very joyfully. The utter excitement in his voice caught me off guard. "Well, Thank YOU!" I chirped back. His face then lit up as he leaned forward and waved me closer toward him... like he had a secret to tell me. I very reluctantly leaned forward.
He then, with the most excited whisper I have ever heard, asked me if I celebrated Easter. This question also caught me off guard. "Why, yes. I do!" I gathered from the excitement in his voice accompanied with the glimmer in his eye, this man was not talking about multi-colored eggs and a furry rodent that wears a seersucker suit with suspenders.
"You mean to tell me that you believe that Jesus is alive?", he began to raise his voice and his face became serious as waited for my response.
"Yes sir, I do." I stood there studying his face. All of the sudden he bursted into laughter. "ME TOO!!!" He was shouting at this point! I bursted out laughing and then he started shouting, "JESUS IS ALIVE... HE REALLY IS!!!" Then I heard sarcastic laughter coming from the old man sitting in front of the television. Once the young man behind the counter heard the mocking laughter, he whipped his head around and looked at the old man. "What are you going to do? Fire me!! I am your son, but I am also his Son. I will be taken care of!"
I'm pretty sure my jaw was resting on the floor at this point. What faith this young man had! Conviction overwhelmed me as my lack of enthusiasm for this very matter was on the back burner compared to my enthusiasm for this massive muffin I was about to dive into. I thanked the man and then headed out for my car. As I was headed out, I could hear him greeting people as they walked into the store... proclaiming the good news.
This morning was rushed due to my procrastination last night. As I started my car, it began to ding at me. Time to go and get some gas. As I pumped my gas, I leaned my left shoulder up against my car, semi-patiently waiting for my car to gobble up just enough gas to get me to work. Shortly after I began, I felt a little hand patting on my rear end. Shocked, I turned around to see this little girl with big ole brown eyes smiling at me. "Excuse me miss, but do you think I could touch your tummy?" Chuckling, I nodded my head and she lifted up her little hand toward my baby bump.
She was about 5 years old with little blond ringlets. As she rubbed me down, she told me that today was her last day of pre-k and her teacher is pregnant. This teacher told her class that if you rub a tummy that carries a baby it will bring you good luck... And she was needed some luck for kindergarten next year. "I saw you and I thought, oh my goodness I HAVE to rub her tummy!", she said with the cutest little Tennessee accent.
At about this point, her Dad peeks around the other side of the gas pump to see his little girl rubbing down some pregnant stranger. "OH MY! I am so sorry. Here lately she has been chasing down pregnant women everywhere we go to rub their bellies."
I reassured him that it was fine but he just rolled his eyes and seemed very annoyed. On his way to come and pry her off of me, the baby kicked her little hand. The next thing I know she had her face smashed up against me with her little arms pulling me closer. "She is kicking me in the face!!! Oh boy!! I am going to be extra lucky today!" I could not contain my laughter. The harder I laughed, the harder my baby would kick, and the harder I was then being squeezed by this adorable 5 year old. Finally, she let go of me. Looking up at me, she said, "You have a miracle in there!" She smiled and then walked back to her car.
What a way to start off the morning! This gas station is something special. I ought to make this procrastination thing a habit. :)