I ran (ok, drove) to Walmart to buy a bubble-padded envelope for the cd’s on which I’d burned Leah’s graduation pics for my dad in Georgia. Then I went by the convenience store to get a coke.
As I pulled up to the curb, the store clerk was outside, sweeping the sidewalk and talking to his friend. After I went to the counter to pay, he came back inside, singing rap.
“My friend just told me to shut up because I’m not black,” he said. “But I think I have black in me. I love rap.”
“Blacks know how to sing and how to dance,” I replied, thinking of one of my favorite singers, Whitney Houston, and my friends, Tony Robinson, Angela Hardy, and LaToya Gay, dancing in the purple room on our Bahamas cruise.
“Do you like to sing?” I asked him as he rang up my purchase.
“Oh, I like to sing, but it’s not usually worth listenin’ to. What I really like to do is WRITE!” he said.
My eyes lit up and I smiled. “I love to write! What do you write?”
He said, “Songs! Rap, hip hop, rock, country, anything. I wrote this one.”
To my complete surprise, he broke out in a country song right there in the middle of the store. And sang all of it. With heart and soul.
I am not ordinarily sang to in convenience stores. In fact, I’m not ordinarily sang to anywhere.
I began sensing this was a Divine set-up.
There were at least three or four stanzas. Like many country songs, it was ridiculously romantic about some woman, some wine, and some lovin’. But still impressive. Especially since when he clocked into work at the convenience store, he had no idea he’d be auditioning that night and it was completely unrehearsed. He knew the words, he knew the music, he knew the emotions.
After he finished, he looked at me and grinned proudly. My eyebrows raised and I said, “Pretty good.” Now what would Simon have said?
I wasn’t really thinking about Simon, to tell you the truth. All I was thinking was that this whole thing was just too —I don’t know, something, to NOT be God.
That’s when I dove in with the core message I so often give to women. “You know, God gave you that gift. He puts gifts inside of us that He wants to use for His glory. He wants to use that gift in you for Him.”
The clerk kind of snorted, laughed, and said, “Well, some of my songs ain’t got nothin’ to do with God! I’m not too sure He’d like them.”
I already had a little of this impression from the one he just sang for me, but pressed on. “Well, God still gave you the gift. You should publish your songs! Keep writing songs. Get singers to sing them on the radio. Ask God to help you write the songs and to open doors for you, and He will!”
He looked at me, as if wondering if it could be true. Then I left.
Now I don’t know whether this convenience store clerk will take me up on that one or not. Maybe he’ll keep working at the convenience store. Maybe he’ll write a hit country song and be the next Tim McGraw. Who knew?
All I know is that I planted seeds of hope and encouragement in this convenience store clerk who writes and sings country.
What is your gift? Are you using it for God?
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