Wednesday, November 13, 2013

People you may want to "add" as a friend...yeah, right.

Yesterday as I scrolled down my Facebook newsfeed, a name caught my eye among the typically random people that the network suggests as "people you may know". I won't name the name and some of you who have known me for a long time might even catch on to who I'm talking about. 

There he was, much older looking than I remember him, with a cigarette pursed between his lips. My mind flooded with the memory of a day during my high school years when I was riding with my boys. A couple of fellas we had heard were talking trash about us were walking down the street, this guy was one of them. As we approached them they threw their hands in the air as if to invite us to settle it. Another afternoon of throwing blows in the street. We had nothing we thought was worth living for but even the most petty things were worth fighting for.

We whipped our rides onto the shoulder of the road and piled out into the street. I came nose to nose with the fella in the picture. I was told later that at the time he held his knife firmly near my back. I had no idea how close I was to death in the moment. To this day I don't know why he didn't stab me. The adrenaline took over and I don't remember our fight at all. All I remember is there was a lot of blood, one of my boys had a tire iron, another guy had a chain and the two guys we had pulled over to scuffle with had gotten the short end of the stick. We drove away with some torn and dirty clothes but other than that we were unharmed.

I came close to death in that street and I also came close to taking another life. To make matters worse, I didn't care. I thought that making a name for myself in the streets is what life was all about and I wasn't the only one who thought this way. We were legion and we all thought we had to be hard just to stay alive. Truth is, we had no idea what life was. We were slaves serving death as our master.
As I look at that picture and remember those days I wonder if we could ever be "friends". Even the shallow social-media-only type. I figure its probably not worth clicking the icon that invites him to be my friend and make myself vulnerable to rejection. I mean, we tried to beat each other to death in the streets. Why should I be his friend? What should he be my friend?

Then I remember that Christ calls me friend. I figure if there is room in heaven for a guy like me then there is room in heaven for anyone, even someone who literally put a knife to my back.

So I click the "add friend" icon. A little "plus" sign that resembles a cross. It's fitting because without a cross there would be no hope for such a friendship. We stand a much better chance of being friends now because the old me died on a cross 2000 years ago with my savior. Maybe he will accept, maybe he won't. Either way I'm thankful because he reminded me of who I am and who I once was. I hope that The Lord would grant him to be able to say the same.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Under the sun

For the first time in a long time I'm scared. It's silly really, a few tests sent off to pathology, two weeks before I get any results. The waiting is the hardest part.
I've always been a polka dotted little fella. It attracted a lot of ridicule while I was in grade school, who knew they could potentially kill me. I thought being picked on and called names was bad. Having spots that are the target of immature bullying were nothing compared to facing the reality that they are now the source of my greatest fear.

Therefore today...I'm having one of those "why" days. When all rationalizations fail and theology seems empty. When circumstances seem to be trying to crush the very life outta me and all that come out are tears. Life remains and I have to face it. The problem is, all I seem to be able to face is the ground beneath my feet or my shirt sleeve to hide the wetness falling down my face I so desperately want to raise up.

I know that this too shall pass but knowing that doesn't make it any easier right now. So I continue on about my daily grind, focusing on my work and drowning out my sorrows with mathematics. Nothing better for man than to enjoy his work under the sun, right? Well, tell that to the guy with the spots who suspects that too much time "under the sun" may have put him six feet closer to six feet under.

Hello, my name is Bobby. I'm not even 34 and my skin is in the mail for biopsy testing. Silly thing to be worried about.

It sucks.

That's all.