A friend asked to meet me at our church on his way home from work. He got off at a time that made it most convenient for me to pick up Joey at his afternoon program and bring him along.
Joey and I got there first and went into a meeting room.
“Joey, do you want to sit down?”
He crossed his arms over his chest and walked down the hall to the sanctuary.
My friend arrived right after that. Just as we wrapped up our visit, Joey returned.
The gent got up from his chair, extended his hand to Joey and said, “How are you?”
I almost fainted when Joey reached out, shook hands, looked the guy in the eye and said, “Fine.”
My surprise didn’t end there.
I pulled my car keys out of my pocket and chirped, “Ready to go to Joey’s house?”
“What do you want to do?”
“Want to go in the church.”
This blew me away. Joey won’t cooperate with going to church most of the time, and even if we get him there he won’t stay in the worship service; he goes downstairs to plop on a comfy couch.
So I asked, “What do you want to do in the church?,” but he just gave me his cryptic half smile, did the cover-his-ears-to-tune-me-out move, and walked down a long hall and into the sanctuary, which was quiet and dark with the dusk.
I just said “OK” and followed, giving him space.
Once in the sanctuary, he walked around at a relaxed pace. He never sat in a pew; he just ambled up and down the aisles in the peaceful space.
Then he went back out into the hall and toward the exit, ready to head home.
Joey’s spirituality will always be a mystery, I’m sure. He’ll recite some prayers we teach him, and I know that some sacred music reaches him (so do Disney and Broadway tunes, of course), but he’s never going to hold a theological discussion and he never asks “God questions.”
Yet this particular evening he found something pleasant and meaningful in a holy place. Another inner conversation I can’t access, just ponder and appreciate.
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him. (Psalm 62:5 ESV)