So, here’s the deal: every morning when I go to the gym, there are about three or four other people there, and all of them are men. Abiding by the first rule of the Female Survival Guide, I don’t talk to any of them, let alone make eye contact. It’s just not a great idea. So this morning when I got off the treadmill and realized there was only one other guy in the gym and he was on a bike directly behind me, I was a little ill at ease and was planning on making a quick exit. But after I wiped down the treadmill I offered him the remote so as not to be a complete and total jerk before leaving at lightening speed. He politely declined, saying that he was quite content watching Sports Center. Two points for good taste in television. I was about to bolt when he asked me who I would be rooting for on Sunday. This led into a lengthy discussion on all things NFL, which I actually appreciated quite a bit. I turned to leave again when he started asking more questions – how I became a Packers fan and where I grew up and why I ended up here, etc. For the most part I operated under the second rule of the Female Survival Guide: don’t give out any personal information. However, I softened up after we had spent a few minutes talking and he mentioned that daughter goes to Roberts. Two more points for good taste is colleges. He talked about his family so enthusiastically and told me all about his wife and kids and how they ended up in Rochester and where they’re all going to college. He asked me if I had ever met his wife or kids here at the gym, and since I hadn’t he insisted that I should meet them soon. It was so easy to see that his family means everything to him, and he never even said it out loud but he never had to. It was evident in every aspect of his demeanor. At this point I started to feel bad for judging him and throwing him in the Typical Man pile. I also started to feel bad that he was being so nice to me while I was standing there looking like I had been chased through the streets by dogs under torrential downpours, as per my post-morning-run look.

After a few more stories I shook his hand and sincerely thanked him for taking the time to talk. Right before I headed out the door we started talking about the Colts without Tony Dungy and he asked me if I had ever read Dungy’s book, Quiet Strength. I told him I hadn’t but that it was on my list to read this year. And then he said this: “Oh! See my Taurus right there? I have it on CD in the console. The door’s open, just go right ahead on in and take it.” I laughed, thinking he was kidding. But he said, “No, no, seriously! Go ahead and take it.” This is a man who had known me for all of 10 minutes. Not only was he trusting me with his possessions, he was trusting me to go into his unlocked car and take his possessions. And not because he wanted to look good or impress anyone, but because he honestly wanted to share something that had been a blessing to him with another person. And that was the most authentic display of Christianity I’ve seen in a long time.

It was just like when he was talking about his family – he wasn’t adorned with Christian paraphernalia of the bracelet or t-shirt variety; he never told me what Jesus wants me to do or how disgusted God is with America; he didn’t incorporate well-known keywords into the conversation so I would know through code that he is a member of Club Christian. The love of Christ was evident in every aspect of his demeanor. The verses that came to my mind after our interaction were from Romans 12: 
9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Here was a man who was truly living these verses. He blessed me with his generosity, but even more so with his authenticity. I want to be more like him because he showed me what it looks like to be more like Jesus.
What a wonderful start to the day.
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