James

Nail polishI was getting my nails done a few weeks ago when two big, burly black men walked into the salon.  They looked about as out of place as I would shopping in a Big and Tall Men’s store. 

One spoke up and said they both wanted pedicures.  Surely I didn’t hear them right, I reasoned.  But I DID hear them right because they took their places at the pedicure chairs.  This isn’t something you see every day at my very white nail salon, located in the heart of Fishers, Indiana.  And so I stared. 

They had no longer started soaking their feet when it happened.  One of the men grabbed a big, black book out of his jacket.  Was that a Bible?  The gold-edged pages gave it away.  Next, he pulled out a spiral-bound notebook and started taking notes. 

Not only were there big, burly black men getting pedicures in my salon, they were big, burly black Christian men getting pedicures in my salon.  Could my afternoon get any weirder?

My manicurist filed away at my nails. Meanwhile, my eyes were drawn to them, those fish out of water.  I couldn’t stop staring.  And so I prayed. 

I prayed that God would help me stop being so rude by staring.  Then I prayed that God would speak through His word, that they would know Him better, that they would be blessed.  I kept praying until my nails were all painted and dried.

I pulled out my billfold to pay, when I felt the Lord nudging me to talk to them.  God, are You kidding me?  You bring big, burly black men into my salon, and You want me to talk to them? 

I approached them slowly, as if maybe God would nudge me NOT to talk to them – just as quickly as He nudged me to – if I gave Him more time to do so.  No such luck.

And so there I stood in front of these big, burly black men getting pedicures with nothing to say. 

I opened my mouth and out came something like, “I noticed you were reading a Bible. I just wanted you to know that I was praying for you as I got my nails done.” 

“Thank you.  That means a lot,” one of the gentlemen said, genuinely.  “My name is James.”

I quickly learned that James is the pastor of a church on the East side of Indianapolis, and he was preparing for his sermon that weekend.  His quiet, gentle spirit became evident the longer we talked.  After a few minutes of delightful conversation, we shook hands and parted ways. 

As I walked away, I couldn’t help but feel convicted.  I completely judged those men when they came in the door.  I assumed – based solely on their appearance – that they were up to no good.  And I certainly didn’t think that they would be Christians.  Forgive me, Lord

I walked into the salon that day intending on getting my nails neatly manicured. I never imagined my heart would be also.

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~ by Serena on May 12, 2009.

One Response to “James”

  1. Ahhhh, what a BRILLIANT blessing God bestowed upon you with James. And in relating my own experience, just because a young lady (or man, depending on the circumstance) is well kept, from an affluent home, has a promising career, an inviting smile, etc, does not mean they are kind at heart and filled with humility, grace and peace.

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