After meeting with some guys to pray after some Bible study in a local coffee shop early last Thursday, I hit the can before leaving because, well, uh, you know...
Oatmeal and caffeine have that effect on me.
A really nice older woman had already stationed herself at the table that we just vacated as I strolled by to complete our exit.
Catching the familiar ecclesiastical scent of what seemed like an overdose of perfume, she appeared a little too dressed up for that early in the day; though I've learned long ago to leave such judgments to God or people who feel comfortable in His position.
I said, "Hi! I hope you have a great day!"
She said, "Every day's great since I retired; though my husband just died and I'm living alone for the first time in over sixty years."
I said, "I'm sorry to hear that; but I trust Jesus is taking care of him and trust He will take care of you."
She said after an uncomfortable pause, "Well, I hope he's not mad at me because I've been meeting with a new friend who will be here in a few minutes."
I said with no pause because it wasn't the time or place and I didn't discern if she was talking about him or Him, "God bless you!"
Many years ago, a girlfriend warned, "Nothing is forever. We'll get over each other some day and move on to someone new."
I protested what proved to be true.
It's like I tell young pastors, "If you die on Monday, there will be salad and ham for you in Fellowship Hall on Wednesday, another pastor search committee will be elected on Sunday, and your successor will be installed in less than a year after your exit."
Maybe my old girlfriend was right.
You've got to go to
Beck's blast at a KD staffer!
Pastors are paid to be abused as well as holy.
It's the same for just about anybody in public/ecclesiastical/social service these days.
People feel better when they can transfer their pain/pathology to somebody else.
It's sick; but it is what it is.
That's why they sell so many punching bags at Dick's for 'em.
Again, it's like the Freudian wearing his stereotypical ascot and drawing on a Cuban said to one of my graduate study groups, "Problem people are usually constipated. That's why they dump on you."
Pearl comes to mind.
She hated me because, uh, she hated my beard because her son who hated her though she loved him but faked hating him because people who are hated tend to hate back in a spiral of unending hatred, uh, had a beard.
Or something like that.
She made an appointment to tell me how much she "disliked" me - she hated me but Christians don't admit that kinda stuff even to themselves because they don't want to be held accountable for not loving Jesus by loving like Jesus while overlooking He's gonna do it in the end - because I had a beard.
Actually, she hated me because her son hated her which caused her to hate me as transference for...
Or something like that.
I said, "If it will make you feel better, I will shave it off."
I'd been reading in the Bible about giving up your jacket, walking the extra mile, taking up the cross, and stuff like that.
She nodded and I shaved.
When I saw her approaching me after worship on the very next Sunday, I anticipated appreciation if not affection.
She smiled as I caught the scent of her toxic perfume and said, "Now about your moustache..."
That was over 30 years ago.
How I dress and don't comb my hair and manage what grows on my face has been kept out of the mix ever since; though I will occasionally smile and think of golf or my mule when someone tries to invade that territory.
I asked my first homiletics class at Kansas City's Nazarene Seminary in the early 80s, "Why do you want to preach?"
A young student who I guessed used mascara to darken his excuse for a moustache beamed, "Because I want to be like Jesus!"
An older second-career bald fellah with a graying beard blasted, "Yeah, you want to be like Jesus except for the crucifixion part!"
It remains one of the better illustrations of discipleship's cost that I've ever heard.
Lent comes to mind.
We're supposed to meditate on His passion as a prompting to consider ours for Him.
Whether it's an old girlfriend, Beck, Pearl, or some other irascible, irregular, irreconcilable who is ready to dump on ya and seems more than eager to prepare that salad and ham for Wednesday and get elected to the next pastor search committee to find a more worthy successor who will eventually be treated like her/his predecessor because it is what it is, the empty tomb makes the cross easier to...
Or something like that.
Confessionally, I've got it better than most.
Sure, I've experienced the expected miscreants who live to hate in a Christian kinda way; but they've left and remain on the outside where they must stay by order of Romans 16:17-18 until they confess and repent.
Trusting you won't tell anybody because it could dull my prophetic edge, I feel loved by people who love Jesus by loving like Jesus and they know I love them because I try to love Jesus by loving like Jesus.
Unless I'm elected Pope or something, a real long shot since earlier today when I dissed those RC "come home ads" that you can hear on disk by calling 815-544-6402 (i.e., the dissing not marketing), I'm staying until some diaperhead or mainline jingoist assassinates me or, uh, they have salad and ham on...
Again, trusting you won't tell, I feel good about that and know some people feel...
I saw that nice yet noxiously smelling older woman that I met early Thursday morning at McDonalds early Saturday morning.
My youngest and I went there for breakfast before his undefeated basketball team went on to win their semi-final game before hoisting the big trophy later in the day.
She was sitting alone when we arrived.
Sensing she saw me but was uncomfortable about resuming our conversation, kinda like some of those people who hate you in a Christian kinda way who see you in a grocery store and then do everything possible to avoid contact, I pretended not to notice/remember her.
A few minutes later, a guy, maybe that "new" friend, came in and she snapped, "I've been waiting 25 minutes for you to show up. You could have at least had the decency to call me and tell me that you were going to be late. It's not right for me to have to..."
I tuned out, just like I do when the constipated start dumping on me, yet thought before changing channels, "I wonder what those other sixty years were like."
It is what it is.
Blessings and Love!
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