A chance encounter

I’m taking a swimming class this semester, and I get myself a good pair of goggles.  It’s funny how the Lord sends small and tender mercies in the most random moments, and this was one of them.  Even it was just to make my day a little brighter.  I had the following conversation with one of the employees:

“Hello! Can I help you find anything today?”

“Yes, I need to find the swim gear section.”

“OK, that’s right this way.  Swimming suit, goggles?”

“Yeah, goggles. I’m taking a swimming class this semester at the university.”

“Ah, no way! I’m on the swim club at SLCC, and I want to get on the swim team at the University of Utah when I go there.  Are you on the swim team?”

“No, just a beginning swimming class.  It’s my senior year, and I wanted to fit in a fitness class on the side.  I can take it easy.”

They young man, I’ll call Anthony, helped me find a good pair of goggles and let me try them on for good measure.  I also grabbed a swim cap, just because.  We continued chatting as we headed towards the registers.

“Have you enjoyed your time at the university?”

“I have.”  For some reason, I wanted to talk about Institute.  It was the one and only thing that came to my mind.  I felt that I should, but I felt embarrassed.  I had tried to talk about stake conference earlier that day, but it ended in an awkward silence, and I only saved the moment by mentioning that I was in choir.  I didn’t want that to happen again.  So I settled with a lame and uninspiring comment: “It’s been a great experience.  I don’t live on campus, so I don’t get the whole college experience, but it’s been great.”  A lot of greats.  Then, unexpectedly…

“Are you LDS?”

“Yes, I am!”

“Sweet!  I just got baptized two months ago.  I attend a singles ward, and it’s just great.  I love the church!”

“Nice, I used to attend the singles ward right on the SLCC campus at the Institute!”

“Wow! I didn’t even know that they had an Institute, or what it was! I love to read the scriptures, and I want to go there sometime.  Do you ever go to FHE?”

“I used to go to the FHEs in the singles ward, but now I’m married.”

“That’s so neat.  I love FHE and home teaching, but I haven’t got to try Institute yet.  I love to go to church on Sundays.  But my second job at a call center is changing their hours.  They want me to work from 8 til 5 on Sundays.  I told my boss, ‘No, I have to go to church.  I just have to.’  I don’t know what I’d do if I can’t go to church.  No, seriously.  But I think the Lord’s testing me.  I’ll find a new job if I have to.”

I left feeling inspired.  Anthony had felt the truth of the gospel and was baptized.  He had a great desire to do what was right.  But it was a lesson to me.  This young new convert was already a better missionary than me!  He had to lead the conversation to the gospel.  My resolve had been too weak, and I was already thinking how it would become an embarrassing conversation.  Talking about the gospel should be easy.  Talk about how it inspires you to be better and to do good.  Talk about how it makes you want to be a better husband, a better son.  Talk about how it makes you want to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.

And I got all that in a visit to buy some swim goggles.

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