Where are we called to be Mary?
I was waiting for my plane in Denver, after being forty-five minutes late in boarding, a voice came over the microphone inviting my area of the plane to board, I was thrilled! I happened to glance into the passengers waiting to board and my eyes stopped at a young woman heavily tattooed with a Mohawk haircut. I thought to myself, now she would be an interesting person to sit by. However, I am not very attracted to people with a lot of tattoos, so I realized that I would probably be very uncomfortable talking to her. Those thoughts passed quickly as I was imagining the location of my seat and where I would find a place to put my carry on.
Moments later, the very woman who caught my eye as I headed toward the boarding area sat down next to me. I couldn’t believe it, here was the very person I had made several quick judgments about before I boarded the plane. We made small talk at first. Initially it was a little awkward for me. She, however, seemed very at ease with me, even I didn’t have one tattoo, nor was my pixie hair cut anything to talk about.
Yet within the first twenty minutes of this two hour flight, this young woman invited me to see the beauty of her work by showing me pictures of the tattoos she had done, the beauty of her mind as she described her interaction with her clients, and the beauty of her soul as she told me her story.
It turned out that I was only two months younger than her mother, who had hoped that her daughter would follow her dream of being a lawyer…now her daughter gifted as she is…was on her own path. It turned out that this gifted woman went out of her way to be a decent and loving human being. And it turned out that I who started out full of prejudices and assumptions about this young woman was given a new opportunity to meet the spirit of the Risen Christ.
My new friend had all kinds of stories, both of good choices and not so great choices. However, in the end we were more similar than different. I wonder how often we miss meeting the Christ because we don’t take time to be present. I really identify with Martha’s business in the gospel of July 22nd. Our minds are often very full of things about which we need to think. This is especially true on airplanes.
However, sometimes those things aren’t as important as who we are called to be with when Christ appears in the person sitting next to us. I have to say I think that God is funny. I was full of thoughts whirling around in me. Yet I am so glad that I didn’t miss the opportunity to learn more about the ways in which God is made known through all kinds of people. I’ll close inviting each of us to be “Mary” sitting at the feet of the unknown Christ. My opportunity came with the tattoo artist, who might be your unknown Christ this coming week?