I took my seat on the aisle and just got settled in when a spirited, young fellow in what appeared to be his early thirties came up beside me, motioned to the window seat and pleasantly said, “I’m your guy.” He was so cordial that I immediately smiled and made room for him to get by me.
Nathan turned out to be a graduate student at UConn and working as an electrical engineering for some kind of tech company that produced a product he explained but I never really understood so I switched the subject to UConn’s two national basketball championships which he was happy to discuss.
He was headed to Milan and then by car to La Spezia on the coast where he would trouble shoot one of their products for the Italian Navy. He took out a very big textbook so I knew that I would not have him for long but once I asked him why he was going to Italy and what kind of work he did, he was obligated to ask me the same so I told him. He was curious.
I wanted to know where he came from and he said that he grew up on a dairy farm and so we talked farming. I asked him about his academic journey and how he came to think he might like electrical engineering. I told him about my friends Stewart and Maureen Crozier who were also accomplished electrical engineers.
So I did all of this small talk to arrive at what I was directing the conversation toward. We also discussed love, marriage and family. This is when he told me about his girlfriend from Florida who was formerly married but now dating him. He said that she wasn’t religious but fairly conservative. I asked what her religious background was considering that many folks from the south are Southern Baptists unless they’ve been tampered with. He admitted that her parents are Christians but that she had been re-evaluating her faith. I assured him that she would likely go back at some point.
At any rate, I asked him if he had met her parents and he said, “only briefly” so I countered by asking, “Would you mind if I give you a small crash course on what Christians believe so when you do meet them you will be fore-armed regarding their belief system?” I got the green light and for the next thirty minutes, I gave him, “Plan A.”
It may take time but there is usually more than one way to skin a cat.