An old friend came by my house unexpectedly last night. He usually does, without calling and out of the blue. Normally, I don't like unannounced drop-ins because I don't like to be caught with my butt showing....but since he is a good friend and we've always been real with one another, I didn't really mind. It was good to see him.
When he walks in the door, you can see the wildness in his eyes. Like a man who doesn't have a place to rest his head at night. No peace in his life. He is always hungry so I usually make him something to eat and then watch him wolf it down. He never sits down when he eats, he just stoops over the butcher block counter. He receives the hugs from my children and he smiles at them. I ask him how he is doing. I ask him if he's been working. And then the conversation takes an inevitable turn and I ask about his family.
He has a beautiful wife and five beautiful children. Nice home. Two cool cars. A good job. Close friends. Connected at his church. All the normal trappings of a happy person. But then a year or so ago, he decided to give that all up to go back to a life on the streets...drugs, gangs, violence and all that that life brings you. In the process, he lost everything.
Being close with his wife and family and being a witness to their suffering, it really hurts to see him roaming the streets. But what I think hurts the most is...he turned his back on God. Its situations like these that make me even question if his faith was real or not. Granted, I don't know everything that has gone on in his life, or what has shaped him into the person he is today. But if your faith wasn't real, then you wasted your time doing the church routine and you have profited nothing. If it was...at what point do you decide that you want to willfully rebel and do your own thing? If gang-banging and prison and drugs and women brought you nothing but death and destruction in your life...why would you consciously choose to return to it? An exceptionally harsh (but real)scripture comes to mind.
"As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” Proverbs 26:11
I guess I will just never understand.
But for whatever reason, I can't seem to be upset with him. Frustrated, yes. Exasperated, yes. But hateful and unwelcoming, never. He will always be welcome in my home, even if it's just to stop in and eat a good meal. He never stays long enough to make himself a nuisance. There have been many occasions where he has left my home in tears. I don't know exactly why, but I think just to see my children happy and smiling and loving on him just makes him think of his own children and what their lives have become because of his choices.
I don't know what it is, but I see alot of my husband in him. They have similar temperaments and have made alot of the same decisions in their lives. So when I see him, I think of my own husband who makes the conscious decision to wake up everyday in our bed, to lift his gratitude to the Almighty, to love and respect me and his children and to be a man of God. He strives to make himself a better man and a better father. And I am deeply grateful for that.
It's fine line we walk on, all of us. And we must make a conscious choice, each and every day. I want to choose life because I have seen the alternative.