I hesitated. To be honest, I almost lied. I don't think this was because of shame or fear though. I think, in that moment, I just didn't feel like being guarded, being defensive.
But it was only for a moment, a moment I will likely have to explain at some later date, a date unknown to me. After the brief hesitation, I spoke up with what felt like a staged confidence though I knew it to actually be true.
"You haven't read the Harry Potter books," they asked in complete dismay, looking upon me as if I'd grown a third ear or eye, or worse — an entire second face.
"What are you reading right now," they asked, I think halfway expecting me to say that I wasn't reading anything. But I was.
After the moment of hesitation, I said, "The Bible." My heart dropped and I waited like a child who had brought home a bad report card. I waited for the scolding. And in this news biz, so I'm realizing, it came — fast and smart and tight. Immediately, it felt as if my faith had been locked in a straight jacket. No key to be found, no where to move, no way to think or to consider, no time to formulate a response.
All of this because I didn't remember a pop culture reference, a name, to a movie that, albeit good and fun, will not help me get Home. All of this because, instead of reading Harry Potter I admitted to choosing to read The Bible, the greatest love story ever told... from the beginning... for a second time.
Being a Christian journalist be like this sometimes. Shoot. Who am I kidding? It be like this all the time.
Looking back now, I can identify God in the conversation. You know, He uses people for hands and feet, for words and sentiment.
"She may know references that we don't. Ya know, I've always wanted to read the Bible as a piece of literary text. I'm sure we're missing out on a lot," one said, to my surprise and comfort. He may never know, but his words gave me strength.
But during the actual moment though, I could see the sense, how in a contemporary battle of relevance, Harry Potter would win out over the Bible — especially in a room of reporters. These people get paid to think, to inquire, to doubt, and then they get paid to write. My issue, though, isn't with who they are or how they think. My issue is with why they expect so much but yield so little...
My hesitation stemmed from a desire I didn't know had crept in: I wanted these people to truly befriend me and my passions, as I had them and theirs. From standardized testing and local politics to Florida history, Star Wars, and the dark web, I truly wanted to know these people and appreciate them and what makes them tick, makes them laugh and smile, makes them feel like a kid again. I wanted to love them. I really did. I wanted them to love me and appreciate me the same. And even though I hesitated, and even though I believe my God will deal with me concerning this hesitation, I do... I do love these people, my colleagues, my work family.
God, whether they know it or not, I thank You for loving them too. Amen.