A Note to Myself, Circa 2001.

Dear College Me,

I have scary news. I’m writing you from a land where people don’t end every meeting with a prayer.

Calm down. Take a deep breath and keep reading.

You’ll just get to the end of the meeting, and the person leading the thing says “Unless there’s anything else, that just about does it…” and people awkwardly meander away, trying not to make eye contact.

Yeah, it’s easier for you, circa 2001 Ben. You never go to any meetings without an Icthus involved, or a Steven Curtis Chapman CD playing the bumper music. So, in your fun little bubble prayer is used as the ultimate indicator of a meeting/get together/pot-luck affair’s finality.

I don’t want to scare you, just giving you a heads up. Someday (decades into the future, don’t you sweat through your Abreadcrumb & Fish T-shirt) you’ll get a job that has staff meetings without a prayer to open OR close. I know, right? They’ll even let Hindus into the meeting. Like real live Hindus… they have those in North Carolina.

You’ll be playing angry birds on your Android (it’s this thing in the future, with a touch screen, that is like a laptop in your pocket that also makes phone calls… you sling birds at stacks of pigs… don’t worry about it. Just buy stock in Apple) and you won’t even realize the meeting has started, because nobody “opened us up in prayer.”

Don’t freak out, Ben. You are going to be fine. But, here’s a pro tip on how to get ready for those meetings. This is going to be crazy, and you’ll probably have to change into a polo shirt or something, but I’m gonna need you to go to a meeting of something not Christian-related. I know, it’s hard to imagine a pastime not centered around ‘ol JC, but trust me, they are out there.

And even though nobody else steps up to do it, please don’t stand up at the Outdoor club meeting and open in prayer. You’re going to want to. It’ll feel natural, and you are kind of an overly extroverted tool bag who loses 5 IQ points the moment you touch a microphone. But don’t. Just sit back and take it all in. Mingle. Meet people. Ask them their name. Learn to listen.

If you must have some closure at the end, feel free to pray silently. And you don’t have to close your eyes for it to count.

If you need any other advice, feel free to shoot me a text or something. Oh right, you don’t have a cell phone yet. Just email me back. But please see if you can change that email.

Ben from 2011.

PS: Your wife is hot. So stop freaking out about it.

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