I went to Trivia Night last week with a friend, her boyfriend, and his friend. It was the first time at a new restaurant, and we were trying to find a place where the dj didn’t drive us crazy. It’s harder to do than you’d think.
The waiter had a long pony-tail and a nice little soul patch (you know how I love three hairs under a guy’s lip). He kept coming extremely close when he brought the food and drinks out, made me whisper my date of birth in his ear when I forgot my I.D., called the guys “boss” continually, and made an overall funny impression.
The trivia was set up differently from any other place I’d been. Ten questions in rapid succession, four rounds, the dj made up the questions herself. It was fun. We were fairly competent.
Question number three went something like this:
“In the Bible, the Ten Commandments can be found in which book?”
Of course, M looked at me.
“Exodus,” I said, sipping my Angry Orchard.
“Our resident scholar,” she said, laughing.
But then the friend, the boy I don’t know very well, started talking.
“I didn’t even know there was more than one. The Bible and the Sequel? Like, Jesus and Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny frolicking in a field.”
I didn’t look at him because I wasn’t sure what to do. I felt immediately hot, and his flippancy made me sad.
In the split second I could’ve said something, could’ve pointed out that this was not exactly an equal comparison, I decided not to say anything.
I let it go.
And then I kept thinking about it for a week later.
They probably don’t even remember it happening. It didn’t mean anything. The boy who said it probably couldn’t care less about whatever conversation might have happened if I’d been bold enough to speak.
But I thought about it while I drove to school, while I sat in church this morning. I wondered if I missed an opportunity.
Part of me thinks I did make the right decision. What would I have said? All that usually comes to my mind when people laugh at my faith is something tart and snappy and not at all in line with how Christ would have responded. I could’ve slashed him with a witty comment. I’m pretty good at those.
But what I’m not good at is calmly engaging people in discussions of faith. Especially when those discussions might lead down paths I’m not too comfortable with.
I said this was my “year of freedom,” in which I would be more open about what I think and feel (my father and brother outwardly cringed at this statement, going around the house saying: “Watch out! Catherine’s been holding back! It’s all coming out now!”). Judging from this experience, though, and my decision not to speak, that freedom is going to be harder to achieve than I thought.
How would you have dealt with this? Is there an appropriate time and place to have conversations like this?