in my capacity as a chaplain, i’ve made a lot of new friends. there’s one thing that’s a little strange, though. i’ve been seeing these guys on a regular basis for two years, and i’ve heard some of their deepest secrets. still, for most of them, i only know their first names.
last week, that fact led me into an uncomfortable faux pas.
one of the supervisors mentioned to me that dave (name changed to protect the innocent) had lost his mom. later, when i got around to dave’s workstation, i put on my best somber face and said, “dave, i am so sorry to hear about your mom.”
dave replied, “what?”
i nodded sympathetically and replied in an understanding voice, “someone told me your mom died, dave, and i just wanted you to know how sorry i am.”
(can you see the impending train wreck?)
dave cried, “my mom? what happened to my mom?”
(right about here is where i began to stutter uncontrollably.)
“well, uh, i heard some guys saying that dave’s mom had died.”
a look of relief washed over dave’s face and he said, “oh yeah…that’s the other dave” and he pointed to the other end of the building.
when i got around to the other dave’s workstation, i said, “hey, dave, i heard…uh, is everything okay?”