Some days, I feel a lot more famous than I actually am. While it's kind of exciting, this fleeting feeling, I have to admit that I have no aspirations whatsoever to be famous.
This past weekend, more than 500 people around the world downloaded my first book - Recess with Jesus - for free during my birthday giveaway. More than twice the number of students in my graduating class from high school. More than twice my current church membership. More than four times (or about four times) as many Facebook friends as I currently have. (Hey, I don't friend everybody.) I have even been officially Facebook-stalked as a result of Recess, although it was completely unnecessary as my email address is conveniently located in the back of the book.
But it wasn't any of that that made me feel famous most recently. All that...all that incredible, indescribable stuff that is happening through a few words God was gracious to lend me...is ridiculously humbling and it doesn't make me feel famous; it makes me feel small.
No, what made me feel almost-famous in these past few weeks was something that actually never happened. Let me explain.
I was in Wal-Mart on a typical Saturday morning, the time of week when I normally do my grocery shopping. Approaching the meat section, I saw a woman who attends my church and with whom I had been in a small group journey. I think she's an awesome woman, not too much older than me, so of course I made a small scene in yelling out her name, throwing a hand in the air, and waving.
At which point, she looked at the woman next to me with a very confused look, then turned back to the chicken selection before her.
The next morning, Sunday, I saw her standing in the coffee area in our church foyer before services began. I made it a point to walk over to her, just to give her a hard time about the whole scene. Before I could get within five steps of her, she looked up and smiled and exclaimed, "Aidan! Did you say 'hi' to me in Wal-Mart yesterday?"
Yes, I told her. And you looked at the woman next to me with a look, then turned away. I laughed.
She laughed. "I thought it was you," she explained. "I swore I heard my name but I didn't see anyone when I looked up, so I figured it was somebody else. Then I looked up again and I saw you all the way down by the deli (about 75 yards away, maybe). I thought about yelling Aiiiiiiiiiiddddddddddddaaaaaaannnn but I wasn't sure if I should or not."
Totally should have.
But that was the almost-moment that made me feel almost-famous. That someone would recognize me from quite a distance away and even consider yelling my name, even if they then reconsider that thought.
As she told her side of the story, I couldn't help but notice the feeling welling up inside of me. Something about being a big fish in a small pond, about being a name in a sea of faces. That someone might dare yell after me...declaring without shame, "There's Aidan." It felt good.
It wasn't the fame, though. It took me a few minutes to get those thoughts out of my head, but it wasn't the fame at all. It was something more simple. Something much more plain.
It was the idea of being known. It wasn't being anything special; it was being anything at all. It was having this place, this place within a place - that is, to be by name in someone else's reality even while in the middle of my own reality, which is Wal-Mart. It's this overwhelming sense of being known, of being named, and of belonging, having a place.
That...that almost moment that never actually was...was more valuable to my heart than a million copies of Recess with Jesus. (But seriously, pick up a copy. It's not free any more, but it's affordable.) Maybe that sounds kind of selfish, self-centered, or arrogant - even more arrogant than fame - but not the way I see it. Not this moment, anyway. You might think it doesn't do much for God's glory; it sounds an awful lot like my glory.
Not so. Tomorrow, I will tell you why my almost-famous moment, and the profound impact it had on my heart, still wasn't about me and what this almost-moment gives to God's glory.