Everyone else had gone on to their campers and tents, leaving just him and I around the campfire. We looked up to the dark night sky and were wowed with the number of stars hanging, twinkling, where no city lights could detract from their beauty. Unbeknownst to both of us the conversation turned to God.
He just isn’t sure if he believes or not. I tell him it’s hard because if you choose to believe then there’s a boatload of questions you’re gonna have and He won’t come down to sit with you and answer them. “Exactly. Exactly,” he said.
I know. (sigh) I know.
He has a lot of guilt. Doesn’t want to talk about it. He gets really, really angry. Understandable. I give him my short story. I tell him about a time in my life where guilt and shame were really killing my insides and how freedom comes from sharing. I tell him that I know how people aren’t all that great about being kind and accepting when we bare our shit, but how I strive to be that person to others based solely on how God met me where I was. Etc.
I want to say he’s just a kid but he’s only a few years younger than I am. An ex-meth addict, lived a hard life, piercings, tattoos, the whole nine yards. Hates his dad, the guy never followed through with anything he ever said. Yeah. Dad’s have a way of messing with our faith. I loved every minute of our talk and would do it again in a heartbeat even though we walked away with no resolution. It’s like I was born for conversations with people like him.
After the camping weekend with our friends and family I sent him a message that simply said, “Thanks for your honesty. And thanks for existing in this world.”
Within 48 hours I’m meeting an old co-worker for lunch. The conversation turns to Jesus because, as she explains, ’her husband is Jesusy,’ and she goes on to discuss her struggle with the people she has known in her life who have claimed to be Christians. The church she attended in Georgia. The pastor of the church her husband attended for awhile who tried to break up their marriage because she isn’t a Christian.
I know. (sigh) I know.
We must have sat and talked for three hours. I have no qualms nor am I offended hearing people spew their anger or struggle over God or church or Christians. I get it – get it down to my bones. These are my people for I was them and still am some days. It’s like I was born to have conversations with people like her.
I don’t have to help them make sense of it all. I don’t have to save them. I just have to listen and love. Yeah. That’s it. Listen and love. Because as I read earlier, “God saves us single-handedly.”