Tiffany

1 08 2009

 

          It was one of those amazing God stories that leaves you skipping out the door and shaking your head with wonder at the way God works.

          I needed a haircut badly, but all the places around cost $40 or above. Definitely out of my price range. But a co-worker told me a new salon was opening and they were giving free haircuts. I called the next day—an hour before they closed—after I got off work.

         The receptionist said to come in, so I drove to the salon and got called back after a few minutes wait.

          The hairdresser’s name was Tiffany. She was young, tall and blonde, a pretty gal who was nicely dressed. I attempted small talk for a while and volunteered why I was in Panama City Beach for the summer—“I’m here with a group of college students for a Christian leadership and development program”—but her short, polite answers discouraged any further conversation.

         Well, I tried, I told God. If you want some sort of spiritual conversation, take it away. It’s all yours anyway.

          I waited in contented silence for a few minutes as she snipped away.

          “So, do you go to a church in the area?”

          Startled, I looked up at her. “Yes, actually, I do. The project assigned us to 1st Baptist Church in downtown Panama City.”

          To my surprise she explained that she’d been there once for a friend’s wedding and thought it was beautiful. She said she didn’t grow up going to church, but had always wanted to go and that was the church she would have chosen.

         “Why haven’t you?” I said, delighted.

          She worked Sundays a lot and had just been really busy…

          “Come with my friends and me this Sunday,” I said.

          We exchanged phone numbers and friendly farewells and I left, waving goodbye.

          I called her on Sunday to invite her again and offer a ride. She never called me back and the following Sundays I always forgot until it was too late.

 

Several weeks later…

          “Look, that’s where I got my free haircut.” I point to the sign as my friends and I pull into the Publix grocery store next door to the salon, in search of a veggie tray for our Sunday school barbecue that afternoon.

          I get out of the car and look over at the Supercuts sign again.

          “Can I go over and ask Tiffany to come to church with us tomorrow?” I glance over at my team leader.

          At her assent I walk toward the salon through the soggy Florida sunshine. My friend Sara goes with me.

          I push the door open to the upscale salon and glance around as I wait for the receptionist to finish with some customers. I don’t see Tiffany, but then I only saw her once. Maybe I just don’t recognize her.

          “Can I help you?

          I turn back to the counter with a smile. “I just came by to see if Tiffany was here.”

          She just looks at me a moment. “Tiffany passed away.”

          I stare at her, still trying to process the words; I vaguely hear her begin to explain.

          “There was a big car wreck a few weeks ago…maybe you saw it on the news…and she, she was killed.” The lady leaned forward. “I’m sorry, were you good friends?”

          “No, no…she just cut my hair once…and we had a good conversation.” I shake my head a little as I turn to go, still in shock, knowing she would never understand. “Thank-you for telling me.”

          I walk outside in a daze, my friend clutching my arm and saying something to me. She sits me down on the curb and I start to cry.

          She never called me back. She never heard the gospel.

          She was just too busy.

          If I had just called her again, just stopped by again and invited her…but no, those thoughts do no good now.

          I know God sent me to her—His last invitation, His final plea for His daughter to come to Him, for He knew what was coming. How humbling to be the one He sent.

          I was probably the last person to speak of Jesus to her.

          Don’t just go to the bank, the grocery store, the hair salon.

          Who is your Tiffany?

 

Author’s note: This story is true. I have recorded the events and conversation as closely as my memory can recall.

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