There’s a fellow I chat with now and then who works nights at the parking garage where I park my car. He found out I’m a minister (don’t ask me how — for a city of 100,000 people, New Bedford feels like a small town). Turns out he’s a churchgoer. Though we don’t talk theology or narrow denominational differences, we appreciate the fact that we are each religious in our own way. The closest we have come to a theological discussion went something like this:
“So where are you pastor?” he said.
“First Unitarian,” I said.
He nodded, paused for a moment, then said, “What I like to say is:– Got God?” He tends to talk in short epigrammatic sentences.
I replied, “That about sums it up.”
As I said, we don’t talk narrow denominational differences. Anyway, tonight I had a meeting of the endowment committee. It was a good meeting, but when I got done I realized that I was exhausted. Felt like maybe I’m fighting off a cold. I drove over to the supermarket to buy some chicken broth, just in case. As I pulled into the parking garage, I was maybe feeling a little sorry for myself.
The friendly fellow from the parking garage saw me as I waved my pass in front of the sensor to let the gate up. He slid back the window in his booth. “They got you working late,” he said.
“Yup,” I said.
We sat there for a moment with our windows open to the damp November evening.
“Night meeting,” I said.
He nodded, and I slipped the clutch back in. I parked near the top, climbed down the stairs, and started to head across the street. When I was in the crosswalk, I heard the window to his booth slide open.
“Keep up the good work,” he said.
Telegraphically short, but somehow the right thing to say. I turned, stood there in the middle of the empty city street, and pointed back at him. “You, too,” I said.
It’s not exactly cold tonight, but too damp to linger, so I turned and walked home.