A few years ago, I got to fulfill a childhood dream simply by asking a seemingly innocuous question: “Will you let me know if you ever hear of anyone with a spare ticket?”
That question emerged out of a conversation with one of my 3rd year Candler professors. On one particular day during a three hour class, I noticed my professor wearing a polo with a Masters’ logo on it. As a lifelong golf fan, I knew that the only place to buy shirts with that logo was at the tournament itself. So I assumed that he had attended the tournament once. But a few weeks later, he wore another Masters’ shirt. Then another for the next class, and I spotted yet another one day in the halls. I soon realized that either he attended the tournament every year or he went on quite the shopping spree the one time he attended.
One day, during a 15 minute break in class, I asked him about the shirt. He informed me that he had attended the tournament for many years. I shared how jealous I was of him and then we talked about the sport of golf, our love for it, and those who taught us to play. Finally, as we prepared to get back to class, I ended the conversation with this offhand comment: “Well, will you let me know if you ever hear of anyone with a spare ticket?”
Days, weeks, and months went by after that conversation. I forgot about it entirely. After all, it was a passing three minute long conversation with a professor whose class I had finished. But one evening I got a brief and cryptic email from him: “Will you call me when you have a moment. It is urgent." Given that I was less than two months from graduation, I panicked assuming that something had gone wrong with my grade for that last semester. I called him immediately assuming the worst. That’s when he said “I have two passes to the Masters this Thursday and I can’t go. They’re yours if you want them.” I didn’t even stop to think about my Thursday classes. I said yes.
It feels like questions, even innocuous ones, are always risky. My professor could have been annoyed at the curiosity of his student. Yet, I think people honor their true self when they are willing to ask questions. Asking questions isn’t even necessarily about finding answers, as answers can sometimes be less concrete and subject to change. Many of what were considered correct answers a hundred years ago probably aren’t right now. I still don’t know if Pluto is a planet or not anymore.
We should all be willing to ask more questions of ourselves and others. The best teachers, pastors, and friends don’t help us find answers, but instead they help us have the courage to keep asking questions, even difficult ones. “Hey, would you ever want to come to church with me?”; “Do I find meaning in what I am doing?”; “Where is God at work in me?”; “Did Kaylen really write this entire blog just to brag about going to the Masters?” These are all good questions and they should be asked. So keep asking questions.
Oh and if you ever have spare tickets to the Masters, don’t say I didn’t ask.