Saturday, March 04, 2006

For some reason, my daughter is extremely late, way past her curfew tonight, and to waylay worry, I'll write about an event that happened by the potatoes this evening at my favorite grocery store.

And, I never reached for that bag of potatoes that I needed I now realize.

An old work friend was walking by the oranges, when I called his name to say hello. He and I used to run every Tuesday together on the trail (before I knew any women who would were runners) -- we ran through the seasons, hot sticky summer, the snow and ice of winter, four miles every Tuesday. Even though he's about 13 years older than me, and was a ph.d. student in educational and counseling psychology, I ended up being his listener for the many woes he experienced in life. He was a fellow post-Ozarkian which also snagged me a bit (besides the compatible pace and the occasional bluebird sightings we'd experience).

However, after a while (a year or two), the sameness of the woebegone issues began to be wearying, and I purposefully began to distance myself. I'm a fairly optomistic person, a believer in change, a hoper, and when I'd offer that to him, he would Eyore it away, only to return to his lament (Puddleglum is the corresponding character in The Chronicles of Narnia; I think there's some also in "The Inferno", swirling around a core of hell, always rejecting goodness just for the sake of rejecting it). It was sad and frustrating at the same time.

So there in the produce aisle, five years later, he appeared, and we talked for about an hour by those potatoes that I still need.

His lament began to pour fourth again, so readily, hardly anything had changed; however, this guy is in real straits with his profession (no job) and says he's extremely depressed. Not much had changed really. I began to feel the compassion well up inside of me again. And, began to tell him the journey of my faith which accelerated after the time of our running together. I told him the story of God returning me, how faith strengthens me, how it could him, how he could face his older age (56 now) with hope and comfort. He listened, said his faith is gone, commented that he did need a shift. We exchanged e-mails again, and I walked away.

I felt that typical heady, humble rush of hope that happens when I tell someone how lifechanging God can be based upon my own story. Then somewhere in the dairy department, I reminded myself how unlikely it would be for this guy to change. He, in some ways, had already hardwired himself into a certain mode of being, and I knew it too well.

Nonetheless, God does erode, doesn't he?, the walls of soul and heart brick that people construct? I pray for my friend that he can experience the joy, comfort, peace that comes through the belief of Christ. Perhaps there'll be a positive outcome despite the forgotten potatoes.

No comments: