I saw him standing there, leaning against the gas pump and wiping his mouth with a handkerchief. I pulled the Jeep up in front of the pump, rolled down the window and turned off the car, hoping that this man didn’t creepily linger like he had the last dozen times I got gas here. He laughed, as if he knew what I was thinking.
Can you fill it up regular, please? And he stood there smiling that dumb smile that would make any woman feel uncomfortable, especially when there’s nothing but silence between you. He took the card and went to the pump. Before I knew it he was circling the back of my car, walked up to the passenger side window, back in front of my car and stopped again inches from my window, which I had yet to roll up.
What’s that? he asked, pointing to my blue sandal air freshener.
It’s an air freshener, I said rather coldly.
No, the angel, he laughed, pointing again to the gold angel pin I had stuck in the gel sandal. I had nowhere else to put it, I thought, and certainly wasn’t expecting my placement to be questioned by the gas station attendant.
Are you Christian? he asked.
Am I Kristen? I thought. How does he know my name? I said Yes. Yes, I’m Kristen.
Oh, so you’re Christian. Me too. Do you know that Jesus lives inside of you? he asked, pointing to his heart. Right here.
Yes, I said. I know.
Yes, of course I know.
Ok, good. Just checking. He loves you very much, you know?
Do you know? he asked again pointing to his chest.
Yes, I know he loves–
Happy Easter, he said.
Happy Easter? Yes. Happy Easter. (It was three days after Easter)
He loves you very much, has plans for you, you know? I’m going to pray. I’m going to pray for you, ok?
I—uh–yes–thank you. You too.
Click. The Jeep was filled. The man took out the pump and handed me back my card.
Remember, he said, Jesus lives in you. I’m going to pray for you.
I suddenly remembered that I had sunglasses on. It was such an odd thing to remember just then, in that moment, and I think I was scared that this man, this creepy gas station man that I had always tried my best to avoid, had actually seen me for the first time. It’s quite a sensation to feel bare, naked while sitting in your car wearing sunglasses.
As I drove to work that morning, I couldn’t help but ask myself, Do you know Jesus? And so I wrestled with the idea for 5 minutes before quickly settling on the fact that Yes, of course I do, and spent the 20 minute drive listing all the ways I do. Still, it didn’t seem like enough. I’m not sure lists were meant for this purpose.
Holy Spirit: Check.
Triple Crown, I’m good.
Then I thought about the gas station attendant. He had been so creepy and I had been so reluctant to even acknowledge him beyond his wandering eye and sly smile. As I drove on the open highway I wondered if he had really just been meaning to talk to me about Jesus the whole time, to have that conversation, as serene as it was. To which I would have asked, Why didn’t you say so?
But as I thought this, I shook my heading, knowing that I wouldn’t have known what to say, mostly because I hardly said a thing during this impromptu conversation. All I said was Yes, I know. Even when he asked me if I was sure.