Thursday, April 23, 2009
Homer Simpson said it:
Tonight a group of youth from Crossfire went to a concert downtown.
While we were there, I met someone who found out I was a youth pastor. They then asked one question right away: what me and my husband studied in school.
That's always a tough one. The way the question was phrased I wanted to be clear in my answer to her.
First, that we have degrees in different fields, and do different jobs. We don't pretend one of us is a pastor because the other one is. Fair enough, right? Being a pastor is my job - that's where my energy and education is. Jarod does engineering and physics stuff I'll never even dream of understanding.. That's where his energy and education is.
And since they asked what I studied, I also wanted to include what job I did outside the church as well, because that avoids a lot of weird questions later or presumptions also.
So my response was simply "I studied theology and I do heart testing as well, and my husband's done autobody and now is studying civil engineering."
That first part is my standard reply much of the time. First, because many people ask while I'm testing their hearts what fields I've studied in, and I tell them. Most of them are intrigued and ask more questions, so then I explain the two things I do now. And then if they wonder why I do both things, I tell them that I do one to enable the other.
And if it's people who don't know me, or that I encounter outside the hospital, I say "heart testing" since that's understandable. Very few people have an idea what an electrocardiogram or an echo or stress test is, and I'm enough of a know-it-all the rest of the time anyhow.
(Then again, if the other person thinks they're a genius and I'm feeling snarky, or they truly are someone who will get this, I'll joke about studying perichoresis (a theology term) AND pericardiocentesis (a heart term )).
So "heart testing" is pretty simple, right? It works. People understand hearts exist. People understand the biological necessity of them working correctly. People understand that hearts are regularly tested, because they're rather important, right?
Apparently... not so much.
Apparently, that clarified one thing, and made things much, much worse.
Apparently, the impression that gave to her was that I studied theology and heart testing... and the two went together: so my "heart testing" was claiming to have a prophetic gift whereby which I judged the thoughts and attitudes of their heart.
Ummm... not so much. I can completely see how they got that impression, but wow... not a chance.
Not knowing this, I'm enormously, incredibly, unbelievably glad the next words out of my mouth were "I'm working at a hospital in Toronto right now" as I was about to explain I was still in school for the heart testing portion.
And this HUGE look of relief passed over their face, and they proceeded to explain how you just never know what type of people you'll run into, especially among downtown churches.
So we started a short discussion about the educational options available at McMaster in political science and fields of that ilk. We may even get together later to talk more about education and options.
Perhaps "I do heart tests for the hospital" will be my new simplified, first-time-meetin'-ya-folks answer. D'oh.
When all else fails...
"Dig up, stupid!"