Sweat glistened from my brow. Like the saying goes, I didn’t want him to see me sweat. But I also didn’t want him to see me wiping sweat, because that’s pretty much the same thing. And he was staring at me, from across a desk.
I smiled slightly, and consciously tried to remember to blink, to avoid the misunderstanding that I was aiming for a middle school staring contest. I was silently rehearsing what my support coach had told me about letting people answer — “Ben, let people answer.” But as a self-absorbed extrovert, it’s really tough to not talk. I had just talked for a solid 15 minutes about what God was doing on the college campus, how students and faculty were coming to Christ, how the campus culture was changing, and how we needed financial partnerships to continue ministering.
I had explained that we generally challenge people to support us at the $100 per month level, and acknowledged that any amount is fine, but that we want to challenge folks who are able to commit to do so at that level.
Then I asked the question. The question that hung unanswered over the room like unclaimed flatulence. The question that I had asked so many times without fault or falter. Mostly because each other time I’d asked the question, there was an answer, and not a 2 minute standoff where two grown men squirm and shuffle around in their seats, afraid to break eye contact.
Yep, I had singlehandedly conversationally jujitsu-ed this otherwise talkative businessman into submission with a thirteen-word sentence:
“Would you join our team at the one hundred dollar per month level?”
That was a minute and a half before the sweat began to pool over my right eye, and I started mentally writing this blog post 4 years in advance.
Have you ever tried being absolutely silent while staring at a stranger for more than 20 seconds? Every second takes about 25 minutes worth of energy. And feels about 4 seconds long. So I could be totally misrepresenting the amount of time this whole ordeal took, but trust me, it was way longer than normal.
I took the time while we were silently acting out what it might look like to sit through a funeral with ants in our fruit-of-the-looms to mentally rehearse my concession speech. “I totally understand that some folks are not able to give. One of the other ways you can help…”
But take heart, weary reader. Business suit interrupted my mental Mike Krzyzewski after Tyler Hansbrough speech (Just nailed the spelling on that the first time, with a significant shout out to my childhood friend Mike Strzyzewski), and to my utter amazement, he said “Yeah, I think we can do that.”
True story. Especially the part about the sweat. If sweating were a paying gig, I’d have not had to raise any support, that’s for sure.
Have you ever ben involved in a silent standoff? What was going through your head? Comment below!