Something interesting happened yesterday, right about dinner time. A young man from Ohio come to the door and asked the kids if their Mom was home. I wandered over, sure that it was someone selling something, and I was right. We talked for half a minute and I mentioned that we were just about to start dinner, or rather that we were going to read scriptures, and then eat. To that he said, "Are you going to read the Mormon Book? My Dad told me about that, I have one that someone gave me and I've been reading it." I told him that he was welcome to come in and read with us, and he said that he would love to. And so he did.
We read Alma 5:38-52. Everyone took turns reading a verse, including our guest. He was very respectful, and intersted in what we were reading. The section of scripture wasn't very long, but it was full of things I'd been wanting to share with my children. I shared everything with them in exactly the same way I would have if our guest had not been here. There is a section in those verses which speaks of learning for ourselves about God's will and plan for his children. I've been feeling that I wanted them to understand how I gained my testimony, so I spoke to them of my experience with the scriptures, starting when I was about 15. It wasn't anything earth shattering, just that I started reading every day, and my testimony grew so that I didn't need to rely on my parents' knowledge. I knew for myself, and that's what Alma says, that he knows for himself. I can't imagine any more valuable information for the children of an LDS mother and a father who has left the church and is very angry regarding it sometimes. I know that the kids would have listened, but the presence of our surprise guest distilled the situation for us... it was more potent. He was listening and so they listened as we read and talked about it. As we were finishing, he said that he felt what we had given him was much more valuable than making a purchase from him. He thanked us for being a wonderful family, and sharing the message of Jesus with him. I gave him some dinner and he hurried off to meet up with his colleagues.
I wondered today what he will remember most about this experience with us. I'm sure it will be a unique one for him, if not singular, during his traveling salesman days. I hope it is that there are good people and good families in our country. I hope he felt love here. I am almost certain that we won't find another solicitor jumping at the chance to read scriptures with us. I'm sure it will be something that we tell my grandchildren someday. How many of our experiences in life are surprises to us, but not 'chance'. Many, I think, when we are open to them. When we are they have the potential to leave lasting, beautiful marks on our hearts.