You probably need a picture in your head of Sonya.
Sonya isn’t a designer person - from her comedy animal print jumpers, to her thick tinted spectacles, to her big eyed Kermit backpack – she doesn’t represent the ‘beautiful pomo people’ the trendy, intelligent, missional, conference going people that read Brian McClaren books! Less emerged more submerged - in societies eyes.
Sonya was tapping on the window and I tried to make myself small. The tapping was unrelenting – I was aware that other people waiting with me to get their hair cut were looking. Tap…tap…tap! I knew I needed to respond so I did that ‘Laurel and Hardy finger wave up close to my chest’ thing coupled with a quick smile. That did the trick and off Sonya bounced. I carried on reading my book but acutely aware that the eyes of those in queue were still fixed firmly on me. I looked up and gave a shrug and a smile that seemed to diffuse the attention.
“Next” – Andrew the Cypriot barber swept the chair and I sat down. “So!” he said in his thick accent “you know that woman do you…?” Sonya has been coming to church for just about 5 years, a dreadful childhood, a tragic adulthood she is one of ‘life’s treasures!’ believe me there are not many like Sonya in this world.
Carefully and slowly I say “ye-eah…!”. The snipping stops, “how do you know her then…?” The rustling of papers stop, a look in the mirror confirms what I already know – everyone is looking at me again. “Well… she…” I’m dreading that she has done something awful. “Well, you see, she kind of, she comes to our church…”; “She comes to your church?”; “actually she is a member of our church community”
The pause was a little too long for comfort as Andrew thought about what he was going to say next. He stops talking to me via the mirror and makes eye contact. “Well you must be very lucky to have her in your church … I have never met anyone who does as much good .. she is always helping people …she is so kind – you must have some church!”
The rhythmic snipping restarts, heads disappear behind their papers and I smile. Sonya with all her idiosyncrasies and quirks is a special member of our congregation. "you must have some church!” I'm not sure about that! but I do feel proud that she should feel at home with us and that she has worked out a life of mission which comes as natural to her as breathing!