I had just left the conference that was so profound that my cousin, who I would meet up with in just a few short minutes in the city, said caused me to be 'all kinds of sentimental.' I was riding a real live train for the first time since my European excursion in 2005 so I was taking a video (of course) for my roommates-turned-lifelong-frieds from that adventure when I was interrupted by the two guys behind me.
They asked where I was going because of my seat buddy. The fifty pounds of luggage taking up space in the aisle. I didn't mind conversation even though my brain was like silly putty after the weekend's learnings. They were approachable, insurance salesmen (for mega churches, they said) and seemed to enjoy showing me the sights as we went into the city. Of course, that included the ins and outs of the train. Fun fact: you can drink on the metra train. This was told to me by Paul. Or was it Matt? Either way, they were having fun, so as the train rolled on, so did our conversation.
We got to talking about their work and the conference at Willow Creek. Somehow, the subject of writing came up. Of course, I was hyped up on inspiration and bravery, so words about my aspiring book called 87 Coffees (which I'd been trying to write for almost a year now with little progress) came flooding out.
"87 Coffees? What's that?" they asked.
I told them it was about unplanned meetings with new faces in the crowd, 87 to be exact. Or at least that was the point on the horizon. I told them I meet people all the time through interesting encounters or connections so why not write about it? It's usually funny. This comment not to be directed at the situation in front of me where it seemed like the only people drinking on the train and making a racket were the ones talking to me. The guy across the way from us would be snoring soon, he was so fast asleep.
"You guys have got to be characters in this book," I said. " Is that okay?"
"When's it coming out?" they asked (I'm pretty sure they also agreed somewhere in there).
I squirmed a bit. Oh look, time to go...
Paul pulled out his phone calendar and said he couldn't wait to check on this project. Everyone (except the man sleeping) started getting excited.
A year. From that day. That's when he'd check on it. "A year's enough time to do this, right?
Was that a real question? I barely had anything written.
He put it in his phone. You know, like when you write down appointments and important matters? You rarely look back until that day, so it felt permanent.
Matt did the same thing.
I'm not sure I answered their question.
I asked another question. What about the possibility it wasn't done, what if they didn't see anything after a year's time?
"We can just push the date back a year in our phones."
What?! That's it?
Space to breathe.
They quizzed me on their names again so I wouldn't forget (with all that time that might elapse, I didn't blame them).
Me forget them, though? They just told me they were going to make sure a stranger got her book written. Who knew all she needed was a little push, knowing there were people out there waiting for the story?
I believe them, too.
I need to practice believing in people everyday, and reminding myself of the light there. Maybe that's what'll come out of this. A whole lot of light in what is often a dark world. We'll see.
Matt and Paul (and friends!)...I don't want to wait one or more years to write your stories. Here goes nothing.