Visited the city of Austin this past week for an educator leadership conference. It was enjoyable as the firm I now represent kept me busy interacting with the superintendents and assistant superintendents that were there. I see people from my days in Houston and the colleagues I have here in West Texas. Austin is a great city to visit and take clients to dinner and talk about projects and such. My first conference in Austin was in the 1980s, so I've seen the city grow over those years.
With that comes travel in the city, and the ride share companies are abundant, minus Uber, in the city. We depended mainly on one called Fare!, and one ride has stayed with me. Our driver's name was "Sajib," and when he picked us up, I got the front seat. Sajib and I started talking about Austin as he began the drive, and I eventually asked, "So, where you from originally?" He paused, and finally said, "Pakistan," almost apologetically, as though he knew what would be going through my mind. He followed up with, "... I've been here for 10 years. I can't believe what's going on over there. It's just crazy." The tone in his voice told me he wanted to make sure I heard him distance himself from the events in that part of the world, so I turned and looked at him and said, "The whole world is crazy my friend, the whole world." Yes, he responded, the whole world, almost relieved I didn't press. We began talking about life, the importance of family, and our hope for our children. All in about five minutes. When the ride was over, I got out with the others, and Sajib got out. He thanked us, and then said, "I can stay, I can take you other places if you need, no cost."
My regret, complete regret, was I didn't shake his hand and say, "I will keep the world and our children in prayer." I know he would have appreciated that. I believe the opportunity was there to show the love of Christ and the ability to look past my own prejudices, and his, and begin that dialogue that might ultimately introduce him to the world of the grace and forgiveness we live daily.
My prayer now is that Sajib, and others like him, are reached. My prayer is to not fail to act when God puts someone in front of me desiring to be heard, listened to, and then introduced to the love of Christ. We keep those who haven't met Christ in our prayers, and we pray that when an opportunity presents itself, we go to God for the words and wisdom necessary to begin that conversation.
Hope Men's Ministry