Tears and Laughter: Influence works in mysterious ways

One reason marriage continues to be popular is so there will be someone to drive the other home after dental procedures and medical tests that require anesthesia.

The waiting room in East Montgomery was full, and I had already checked email, read all the headlines on Twitter, and sent several texts. I was in a corner, with a wall to my left, after changing seats with a lovely couple – “the preacher and his wife” – so they could sit across from another delightful couple already waiting.

They exchanged small talk about the number of new members that have joined the church this year – on top of the new members that had joined last year. They agreed God is blessing the congregation with growth. I wanted to nod in agreement, but I wasn’t a part of the conversation. I was just beside them close enough that I had no trouble hearing how they wish they could get the point across to certain parents that they shouldn’t skip Wednesday night church services for ball practice. Evidently, we will not be spending eternity at the ballfield.

About then the preacher suggested they go ahead and engage in a prayer before “things got rolling.” They all joined hands and bowed their heads and I just sat there feeling a little more anxious than I had previously. There was a window in the wall beside me, but it was too high for me act like I was staring out lost in a daydream. Since I hadn’t thought to invite a preacher, I went ahead and bowed my head, hoping for inclusion by proximity.

I’m not the type of person to gossip much. I mean I can. I can be very good at it. I had a couple of aunts who could have entered competitions, bless their sweet souls. At the same time, they took a few secrets to their graves with them. I guess I got a little bit of that trait too. I have the ability to shut-up, but when I do choose to gossip, it is usually with select confidants who have proven themselves able to identify what is private, as private, and keep it so. It takes a close, true friendship to allow the provision of talking freely without the worry of weighing words.

And all I can figure is that these were the type of friends these four were to each other, because once they had chimed Amen and patted each other on the shoulder, the gossip session got fully underway. It was in a positive manner, of course. The patient-to-be lady we had prayed for said she had recently noticed one of the other ladies at church seems to be coming out from the shadows of divorce, because she has started wearing bright lipstick and trying to look nice.

The preacher leaned in again and quietly said that he would still rather kiss a match. His wife didn’t seem to notice or care or change expressions. She was scrolling on her phone. But the husband of the patient suggested they devise a plan and work together to get the lady wearing the lipstick hooked-up with a certain single Mr. Lonely Deacon. He said he had witnessed just this past Sunday morning the deacon’s ears perk-up “like a Doberman Pinscher’s” when another recently divorced woman entered the church. He said the deacon had asked her out in a round-about way, but unfortunately she had not seemed that interested. She was younger, and there was no word from the preacher on whether he would kiss her over a match or not.

By the time my name was called I was feeling a better about my own spiritual walk. They didn’t invite me to church or offer a brochure, but influence works in mysterious ways.

Amanda Walker is a columnist with The West Alabama Watchman, Al.com, The Thomasville Times, and The Wilcox Progressive Era. For more information, visit her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist.