How we argue ourselves out of our calling…

I was outside this morning, in the front, pruning roses. It was seven or so – the only cool part of the day left until winter – and I saw someone at the house across the street, sitting on the front porch with his head hanging low between his hands.

I went back to snipping, and a battle started. Just like that, with that one vision. I wondered if I should talk to the guy, that he didn’t look well. I kept snipping, arguing that I can’t go talk to him: I’ve got a hundred things to do today. Besides, it’s my wife’s birthday.

Then I had one of those odd, rare, and weird experiences: “Oh, I thought you wanted to live a mystical life? A life of intercession with the Father? A life led by the Spirit?”

And I remind myself: Careful. You’ve had a brain injury. Maybe you’re not thinking right. Maybe I shouldn’t trust myself? The only thing I’m sure of now is that this never occurs to me when I want to buy another 14 books.

I continued pruning, watching for thorns.

I can’t go talk to him, I tell myself. Look at him. He’s waiting for someone. He doesn’t need a nosy neighbor bugging him.

As I pruned, watching for thorns, I thought of the theme from a podcast I listened to this week, that you don’t have to walk up to people and tell them their miserable life can be made whole with an encounter with Jesus, the Living G. Sometimes – most times – people just want someone the say Hi: to connect and talk about the weather.

I filled my bag and finished the roses and walked next door.

“Dude,” I shouted, waving. “I see you hanging out over here. Can I get you a cup of coffee or something?”

He was younger than I had guessed, and bright red hair peeked out from beneath his baseball hat, tuned backward.

“Naw,” he said, “I’m just waiting for my boss. He’s supposed to be here.”

“Do you live around here?” I asked, not seeing a car.

“I had a ride drop me off. I was here painting yesterday, and my boss told me to come back again in the morning.”

“You have a phone? You need to call him?”

“That would be super cool, man.”

I fished my phone from my pocket and handed it to him. He called his boss, telling him he was at the house, and, never mind, the owner just showed up.”

Sure enough, the owner drove up in a Ford dually truck and waved to us. The kid turned to me before walking into the house. “Hey, man. Thanks so much for coming over and letting me use your phone.” He laughed, “Felt kind of lonely over here by myself all morning.


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