“You headed to work?” His voice was gruff yet gentle.
“Yessir.” I was late, and was disgruntled that I had to stop and fill my husband’s vehicle with gas prior to work. I was already late and small talk would not get me to work any sooner.
“You look like you’re going to work. You a nurse.”
It was more of a statement than a question. I am old school and I wear old school nurse scrubs. The young crowd gravitates towards t-shirts and scrub pants, clog shoes and trendy things of nurse fashion. The scrub top I was wearing as he spoke, my Mama made me some two decades ago. I received it in the Spring after I had been working a mere two months. It is one of my favorites, besides the obvious comfort that accompanies a two decades old shirt, it has donkeys wearing hospital gowns on it and that makes me smile. I love donkeys, mostly because I act like one.
I acknowledged that I was a nurse and he chattered on. He pumped his gasoline opposite me.
“I’m headed to work too. To dig some coal outta the ground.”
I listened as he acknowledged that without his coal procurement we would not have electricity. I agreed and I told him I was glad we had electricity because without it I most definitely could not do my job. I began to take a closer look at my gas pump companion, he was dressed neatly in jeans, with an orange t-shirt tucked in. He was neat and clean and apart from his white beard I would not have guessed him old. We hung up our gas pump nozzles about the same time. He was smiling as he told me to have a good day, a blessed one to be exact, and to “stay safe out there.”
He pulled away in his old Ford Ranger just about the time I pulled away from my side of the pump.
In the short amount of time we had together he left me pondering. He was right, a truth teller. He had acknowledged a fact in a roundabout sort of way that I know to be true but have a hard time living out. I want to be what I was not, or who I was not rather, designed to be. I hear phenomenal Christian Speakers and I find myself wanting to emulate them, to adopt their mannerisms and ways of teaching and speaking. I read Christian Authors and I do the same thing. I’ll read a paragraph that sounds like it was sent straight down from the Heavenlies and think, “Man I wish I could write like that!” I understand and I recognize I am not supposed to live my life as if I am carrying around a measuring stick to see just how I measure up to others. I know that, but I’ve yet to abandon my virtual yard stick and will readily whip that sucker out and begin an “anti-me” monologue with myself. The Coal Digging Truth Teller made me realize that morning that we have all been created for a purpose, to do a good work specific to each of our own giftings. I couldn’t have gone to dig coal that morning any better that he could have done what I do everyday at the big hospital with the red circle atop it.
Like the body of Christ we each have different roles and, metaphorically speaking, if the King had wanted me to be a coal miner for the Kingdom he would have made me one. Yet he did make coal miners so that the nurse folk of the kingdom can be complimented. We are all different and that is not a bad thing. Some of us are coal miners and some of us are nurses. Some of us are writers and some are speakers. Some of us are teachers and some of us are cooks. We are all one body with one purpose, and that is to love fiercely, hate evil, cling to good, and consider others better than yourselves.