May 24, 2010

experience: that most brutal of teachers

[I kind of think I write the same stuff over & over again. I think it's easily explained by the fact that I don't learn lessons easily so they have to get taught to me over & over until I figure it out. Maybe you're the same way. If you're not, well, hang in there. I'll get it eventually. Probably.]

One of my friends at The Well was telling me yesterday that he missed a chance to see his kids. We've talked a lot about them in the past and I have sat with him many times as he weeps because he misses them. He's never angry about it, and when he does cry he does it gracefully - but his heart hurts, and it hurts mine to see. So when he told me he missed that chance, I was surprised. And since I feel like he trusts me (at least a little), I asked him why.

There wasn't really a reason. What it comes down to, I think, is that he got caught up in shame. My friend is homeless, and he didn't want his kids to see him because he didn't feel good/clean/successful enough. Instead of answering my question, he half-joked, embarrassed, "I've just got to get myself together."

I hate that.

What I want is for him to see what I see, which is, among other things, a genuinely kind and compassionate person. A dad who wants what is best for his children. A man who is worthy of grace & love & mercy. A friend. And the fact that he doesn't have a job or a home or a haircut is kind of inconsequential when it comes to who he is. Of course, hate it or not, I know exactly how he feels. It's exactly the kind of crap I think all the time.

I can't help but wonder how many chances we miss because we don't have ourselves together just yet. 
I wonder how many times we let shame convince us that we're not worthy of what our hearts desire.
I wonder how many of our tears are shed because we didn't show up, and we could have.
I wonder how often we become something we're not simply because we've forgotten who we are.

I told my friend that next time, I hoped he would show up anyway.
He promised he'd try. So I guess I'd better try too. It's only fair.


alixefloyd said...

this is beautiful. also, you should put together a mini-book of quotes from your posts complete with pictures of your pretty face and sell them. I would by 10,000.

Mel said...

good gravy, greaves. i want to cuddle with this blog. especially this post.

ps. i would also buy 10,000 copies of said book