God has a sense of humor. And he enjoys messing with me.
A few months ago, in an effort to get myself in better spiritual shape, I managed to find a sweet, patient Jesuit who was willing to lead me through an adapted version of St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises. I'm about halfway through and so far it's been great. I spend some time every day in quiet contemplation, reading a bit, reflecting a bit, and having some pretty good one-on-one conversations with Jesus.
Actually, Ignatian spirituality is perfect for an ADD-afflicted human like me. Whenever I find myself going off the rails, getting distracted when I should be focusing on my meditation for the day, or even when I'm out in the world and start having very uncharitable thoughts, I usually can get myself re-focused by using Ignatius' tenet of trying to find God in all things.
Like this morning, for example, when I walked into the gym still in my post-meditation, content, I'm Going to Look for God in Everything I See Today mode and I'm instantly accosted by the Resident Creeper, the guy who wears cargo shorts, bad 70s-looking t-shirts, smells faintly of a mixture of Pine-Sol and moth balls, and who tries to strike up a conversation with any woman under the age of 100 who happens to be working out.
RC: Hey, you weren't here yesterday.
Me (trying to be pleasant while still trying to discourage a major conversation): No, I took the day off. Had some other stuff to do.
RC: Stuff, huh?
Me (trying to step around him because he's a close talker and, you know, the smell): Yep.
RC: You got any plans for the weekend?
Me (as I'm walking away): Yeah, my husband and I are headed to a family reunion in Nebraska.
RC (loudly, because by now there are all of five feet between me and him and he wants to make sure I can hear him): You shouldn't tell people you're leaving town. That's how houses get robbed.
Me: Yeah. Thanks!
I kept walking and escaped to the locker room, thinking the whole time, "Really, God? Really? You have to test me like this?"
As I was putting my stuff in my locker, Holly, one of my fellow gymgoers who overheard the whole encounter with RC said to me, "What is with that guy? The other day he told me I should wear my hair shorter and get some highlights."
A few other women chimed in about him, too (apparently I'm not special), and then Gloria, one of the octogenarian aquasizers, momentarily stopped her struggle with her bathing suit (at that point the bathing suit was winning) and said, "Girls, he's lonely. He obviously doesn't have any social skills, and this is where he feels comfortable, so would it kill you all to just be a little tolerant of him, make his life a little better by being nice?"
Then, looking at Holly, she said, "And you know what? You could maybe use some highlights. Brighten up your face a little."
And there it was. Just as I was trying really hard to remind myself that God was in the RC, Gloria speaks up and says pretty much what I imagine Jesus would say in that situation.
And, of course, how does the voice of Jesus come to me? Through a half-naked 80-year-old woman in the locker room of an LA Fitness.
Seriously. God has a helluva sense of humor.