The pages of his book.
I'm not entirely sure why, but up until today I have had no desire (besides the often random ideas that I don't follow through with) to blog. Seeing as how today was a short day at work I decided to go and spend some time reading and journaling at Starbucks and now I am nearly bursting with all that has been raging inside me for the last four months. I'm not sure how this all ties together but I feel like it does and I hope it comes across as making some sort of sense.
I don't know how many of you have been following the new ABC series ONCE but I watched the new episode today (spoiler, beware!) and found myself stirred by a characteristic of Snow White. The premise of the episode was that Snow White returned to the castle in response to a love note from Prince Charming and was captured and thrown in jail (without the prince knowing). While in jail she met grumpy who was in another cell. Grumpy shared with her how he had been conned and put in jail and how he too had lost his true love - promptly after sharing this with her another dwarf showed up to help him escape. As his cell was opened and he was taking off without even thinking to free her Snow White said, "Grumpy? I hope you find your lost love". It blew my mind that she didn't ask to be freed along with him. That wasn't even what she was thinking about. She sincerely wanted nothing but his best interest and didn't require anything in return. While at the moment I couldn't place it I knew that characteristic was something I desired - something I knew also lay nestled within the character of Jesus.
I realized all this while trying to figure out how to handle the erratic conversation with the presumably homeless man across from me.
His name is Matt. He loves dogs and Horses and owns a bright yellow dune buggy that doesn't run. He wants to make it up to Oregon soon and to buy a horse and travel that way. He has his hunting license and desires to buy a boat. He wants to pick up golfing. He would have liked to of gone and seen the Dog show they were featuring in the local newspaper. He lived in Hawaii for about a month, doesn't like spending time in cars because of an accident he was in and has a fake septum piercing. He dropped out of college. He is a brick cleaner by trade and had some for sale if I was interested. He had recently decided he should probably brush his teeth more since his molar was starting to bother him - he told me this while chomping on a lollie.
I had been sitting there, at my awkward knee high table, in the large backed chair for about ten minutes before Matt showed up. Immediately I felt the need to buy him a cup of coffee.. but.. my conversation starting muscles were out of use so I kept to myself. I said.. "ok God if you really want me to buy him a cup have him talk to me". It makes me laugh now because I didn't say, "have him start a conversation with me" I said "talk to me" and talk he did. To me, indirectly. Matt started to read his newspaper out loud, quite loud, to me and when he saw he had gotten my attention added, "I really would have liked to of seen that!". I laughed, and went back to reading only to remember a second later that the Lord had made it abundantly clear - so I offered to buy him a cup and he acquiesced, opening the floodgate of friendship.
Nearly an hour later Matt was still chit-chatting and I was having a hard time focusing. I was reeling between annoyance (I came here to read... peacefully) with him and myself (why didn't I put my earphones in earlier?) and with God (so much for quiet time ) appreciation (I love that God chooses to share the desires of his people with me) and caution (no.. you can't have my number). He would go from interesting to slightly unnerving and back again. His gaze was so intense that I more often than not found myself searching the pages of the book I was reading for an escape. Then he said something that struck me as a LIGHTNING BOLT FROM GOD, but in my frazzled state I completely dropped the ball.
I have the sneaking suspicion that Matt made the comment as a surface and slightly inappropriate gesture (due to the fact that he asked me if I had or needed a boyfriend right before) but I also knew that it was a small glimpse into the depths of his soul.
"I just don't like being lonely".
Inside I screamed, "You don't have to be! YOU DON'T HAVE TO FEEL THAT WAY! I know someone who wants to spend every waking moment with you!" my heart broke. my insides ached and yet.. nothing broke past my lips. Why?! WHY DID NOTHING COME OUT OF MY MOUTH?! I still don't know. I don't know what kept me from saying it..
It's one of those moments that I know I will remember forever. One of those moments where I will wonder what might have happened.
It was in the lulls of silence that followed our sporadic conversation that I began to examine what kind of person I am. What kind of giver I am and desire to be. God began to bring things to light that I knew I didn't want in my life any longer and ways that I had been allowing lies to take root. He began to speak to me about Relationships and what it means and looks like to be generous. He began to speak about characteristics he had created in me that I was ignoring, and relationships in my life that I had been slacking in. He reminded me of what it looks like to live a lifestyle of thankfulness. He also brought to my attention the moment in ONCE that had stirred my heart. The selfless nature of Snow that had so spoken to me. It had also returned relationship to the place of importance it should be in my life.
A gentle reminder that a selfless lifestyle (that my heart so longs for) breeds generosity but that neither are the important part, it's the relationships and more specifically the hearts of the people. "Generosity towards others is our gift to God. It costs us something." Living selflessly means that people (and the relationship you have with them) are more important to you than the things they can potentially give to you or the things you will give away.
After Matt had packed up and headed out I had another moment to reflect - In the end I learned something about myself and about life: I don't want to be the person who needs an excuse to give, I want selflessness and thus generosity to be a natural outpouring in my life - a product of constantly hanging out with Jesus and understanding his heart for his people . I was reminded that everyone has a story and sometimes it takes a while for them to get it all out (and it may be a little awkward along the way), but it is always a privilege when someone shares the secrets of their pages with you. I want relationships with people to take precedent over the act of giving. I want to be painfully aware of the reality and healing power of Jesus in the lives of the broken and aching. I want to always remember that generosity is only a tool and not the main thing. And The act of giving will never be an excuse for keeping my mouth shut about the truth of the man Jesus Christ.