Yesterday I bumped into Byron MacFarlane at a holiday potluck I attended with my daughter. I'm sure you won't be suprised to learn that she immediately ditched me to hang out with her friends, so I was eating dinner more or less on my own. I had set aside my plate and gotten out my crocheting when he came in the room, spotted me, and came over to say hello.
In case you don't know, Byron is the Register of Wills in Howard County. I haven't ever needed to see him in his official capacity. I know him solely from conversations at social events. Like this one. I feel a bit of kinship with him as my father and grandfather's name were Byron, and it is such a rare name that there's almost a burden attached to it.
But that's another story altogether.
We talked about crocheting (something good to do with your hands if you're shy), the recent election, local people we admire, and his second swearing-in and how it felt to be beginning a second term in office. It struck me that his focus was on how important it is to treat your staff right, to show support and loyalty. He sounds like he'd be a great boss.
Soon he was off to join a table of his friends. The evening moved from dinner to a beautiful choral concert, and I had time to reflect on our conversation. I have experienced plenty of "drive-by" conversations with candidates and electeds over the last several years. After a while you get a good sense of who is really "with you" and who is scanning over your shoulder for more important people.
Mr. MacFarlane took the time to sit down and communicate on a very human level with someone from whom he likely had nothing to gain. That may not seem remarkable to you. But last night, alone at a social function with my crocheting, I found it to be a lovely gift.
I am thinking a lot about starting conversations these days. I highly recommend this post from the Rev'd Heather Kirk-Davidoff. She states:
We need an excuse to connect, a reason to invite someone to sit down for a moment and talk with us, a reason to open our door and ask someone to step inside.
As Pastor Chad Kline at Abiding Savior Lutheran would say, "Can I get an Amen?"