Sunday, September 29, 2013

Salt, Light, and Bobby

Well, it’s me again, back with more crazy stories that I’m learning from. This one involves a guy named Bobby. Bobby was almost without doubt a drug user of some kind, I’m going to guess either meth or weed. Meth for the behavior, weed for the smell (I go to concerts, don’t’ be jumpin’ to conclusions).

I was studying with a buddy who is in the same graduate program as me at a coffee shop in downtown Abilene. During our conversation, a guy with a crazy look in his eye walks into the coffee shop and approaches our table. He extends his hand to me, I shake it and introduce myself and he does as well. All this time his other hand is behind his back, kind of unsettling. During our handshake, he grabs my hand very firmly and kind of pulls me towards him. At this point, his other hand comes out from behind is back and goes towards my face. Now, I’m obviously alive and writing right now, so he didn’t kill me. He in fact just wanted to touch my beard and complimented me on it. This did not stop me, however, from nearly crapping my pants and jumping backward rather abruptly from his hand. He moved on to different parts of the coffee shop and I went to see if I had any extra underwear in my car.

A little later, my buddy and I headed outside towards our cars and talked outside for a bit. Bobby approaches us and starts to talk to us. The conversation that followed was one of the single strangest I’ve ever had. He told us that he was an ex navy seal and kind of talked about how he had laid concrete at a hotel within view of where we were. Note: all the time that he talks to us, it is a very disjointed series of thoughts, very hard to follow. He rather abruptly started talking about fighting with his wife, and then how his brother had died a few years ago from what seemed to be a drug overdose from what he was describing. He started crying, to which I tried to comfort him as best I could. Then, he started talking about theology. I could kind of describe the transition, but like I said, it’s difficult to follow (especially out of context). He talked about Genesis and the creation of man. He talked about how mother earth was ummmm….upset (censored) because of how we were treating it. He talked about Jesus and how he sacrificed himself for all of us. He talked about how God loved us more than we could ever know. And then he talked about how at the end of times, he would be holding the book of life because he himself was Michael the Archangel. Like I said, it got weird. He went into full detail about how his wings were gonna sound (which he acted out quite well) and all kinds of stuff about how we needed to pay attention in our college classes and be good men who don’t hit women (like I said, it was a rather disjointed). I wanted to offer to pray with/for him, but I kind of thought that maybe Michael the Archangel would take offense to a mere human offering to pray for him.

You know what though, there is a lot to be learned here. I sure know that I did.

Firstly. Everyone has a story, and what happens when you take the time to listen to someone’s story can be rather amazing. It can be really crap-your-pants terrifying, and as weird as all get out, but it can also be very rewarding. No one is the way they are for a lack of reason and context. Get to know it. It’s fascinating.

Secondly. Bobby taught me about witnessing. The dude had some serious spiritual gumption. I promise you that I’ve never been so bold in my faith as Bobby was talking to me tonight. He was laying it all out there, crying even, with complete strangers. I had an experience the other day where a guy came up to me (I was on crutches from a bouldering injury) and asked to pray over my ankle. The guy even “laid hands” on it. Now, from the conversation I had, it seemed like the guy wanted to be a spiritual healer. However, his intentions aside, what kind of crazy courage does it take to walk up to someone and ask to pray over them? I wish I had some of what they had.

Thirdly. Bobby taught me a lot about being Salt and Light. The two aspects of Salt and Light that I think Jesus used them for are that they are invasive, yet distinctly different from the environment they are introduced into. I heard a question asked (concerning being Salt and Light) that went like this – Are Christians so separate from the world that they can’t make a difference, or are Christians so much like the world that they can’t make a difference? Obviously neither are where we want to be. Salt and Light are both invasive, they get in there, into the darkness, into the bland, but they are also so distinctly different from the environment that they are a part of. Now, Bobby was extremely invasive. He was up in our business pretty hardcore, he tried to touch my beard. However, the world definitely got to Bobby. Drugs, extreme profanity, and all kinds of other things most likely filled his life. I assume drugs did because of his behavior and because he at one point told us that you could do whatever drug you wanted to, because God made it all (well Bobby, I think Walter White makes meth, so not sure your argument holds up). So, unfortunately Bobby only had half of this concept down. But man, what a life lesson, even if we learn from both the positive and the negative displayed by Bobby.

Anyway, my experience was quite the trip. Why don’t you go have an experience? They’re kind of crazy, a little dangerous, but they are really fun and God tends to do a lot through them. Go be salt and light, go witness to a world that needs spiritual awakening, and go get to know people’s stories. It’s worth the effort.