Copied from my old blog. Monday, March 9, 2009
Was parked at a truck stop in Hebron, Ohio, with a loaded trailer, on a Sunday. I wanted to drop the load, and get rolling with something else, but dispatch wanted me to stay with it, and deliver it Monday morning. Although it was March already, it still felt like winter. The air had a bone-chilling effect on me, as it crept slowly through the corners of my truck, and around my shoulders.
¿What could I do to pass this day of idle time? Before I was a truck driver, I attended an LDS (Mormon) church every week. In those days, I was an active participant, serving where I was needed. I didn’t feel needed today; not even with a loaded trailer to tend.
There are a few trucker chapels, fashioned out of trailers, at various truck stops around the country, but they aren’t quite the same as a home church with familiar faces, who share your own religious faith, in depth. My delivery schedules rarely left any opportunity to attend church, and I often felt anxious about it.
My Garmin GPS receiver showed there was an LDS ward building about 7 miles away. I was grateful to have that Garmin GPS receiver, and for how it helped me to find fuel stops, rest areas, and other points of interest.
I considered the 7-mile drive, with a 53-foot trailer in tow, into a residential area, looking for the church, and a place to park my rig. I didn’t feel like going to all that effort for a church meeting. About that time, one of the associate pastors of the local truck stop chapel came walking up to my truck, to invite me to the church service. I recognized his face, and said I would come to the service.
I remembered being in that same truck stop chapel one Sunday last year. There was an odd after-church encounter I had with another truck driver. After the pastor had given the benediction, there was time to socialize, and I asked the man next to me if he used a GPS receiver on his truck. His response was, “Every day.” When I inquired more particularly about it, he kept pointing to his Bible, which was sitting on a chair. In other words, his Bible was his GPS receiver. It seemed he was suggesting that he didn’t need anything else to help him get where he wanted to go. I may be lacking that kind of faith; when I want to get to the Nestle plant, to pick up a load of chocolate, my Holy Bible is not where I look for directions.
This Sunday, I did not have time to get showered and dressed in time for the 09:00 church meeting. Had to settle for a quick shave, before I left my truck. Was already wearing blue jeans (not my favorite) and thought it could be more meaningful, or reverent, if I put on my blue wool jacket, and a silk blue tie. Now, this silk tie was my favorite, until just after the last time I wore it. I left it in my bag of laundry, forgot about it, and washed it in a washing machine. Not a good thing to do to silk garments. The tie came out wrinkled. I couldn’t just toss it in the garbage. It seemed that a wrinkled tie was better than none, since it was my only blue tie on hand.
In my rush to get dressed, I didn’t bother to go inside the truck stop building, to the men’s room, to brush my hair. The front part of my hair was sticking up, from being pressed against a pillow while sleeping. A bad hair day. If it looked odd to the others in that chapel, nobody told me. So I didn’t know about it, yet.
The pastor commented that I looked like I was ready to give the sermon. Nobody else in the chapel – not even the pastor – was wearing a necktie. My own necktie suddenly seemed more wrinkled than it was before I walked into the chapel.
Mercy was a young college student, visiting the chapel. She was practicing photography, and asked each person if it was okay to take photographs of them. I had no objection. I felt reasonably secure, in my blue wool jacket and wrinkled silk tie. Although none of us were supposed to pose, or act any different than we normally would, I kept glancing at Mercy. She was clearly the most attractive person in the room. It was somewhat distracting, the way she kept moving around to try different angles, even as the pastor spoke.
The associate pastor, who came to me at my truck, had a certain medical condition. I felt impressed to talk to him about it later, after the benediction. He had been blessed with the use of a certain medicinal tea, and I had been blessed with other medicinal herbs. We both learned from each other, and agreed that God uses many different people, in many different ways, to bless others with healing. Unfortunately, some of these people are persecuted by members of the more popular medical professions.
Yes, Mercy was still there taking photos of me shaking hands with this man, listening to him talk about his condition. Her camera flashed, not a few photos. I had to resist the urge to turn and pose for her.
I didn’t care what Mercy did with her photos, until I made my way to the men’s room, and looked into the mirror. That’s when I learned that my hair was sticking up, making me look goofy.
I imagined that Mercy was having a laugh about this.