Today, I was told by a “descendant of King David” that he saw a good seed and fertile ground, as he crossed me in benediction and commissioned me to “share the word”. All this while I waited for my friend to finish changing after we’d swum our laps at Freyberg pool (come on honey, change faster please! I’ve been cornered by a descendant of David!!) His calling has gone largely unrecognised by humankind, especially Catholics who widely propagate the idea that David’s descendants had been annihilated (apparently), but, now that I’ve met him, I need to keep a look out for The Oracle. The Biblical version, not the Matrix version. On this point I’m a little lost, and he seemed rather vague on the scripture reference.
Yesterday, a large Maori girl in sunshine yellow, with enough hair on her upper lip to call a moustache joined me while waiting for the train. She told me she used to have 3 cell phones, but now she only has two because she sold the other one and now her boyfriend is gonna be pissed because it cost a lot of money!
‘Why did you sell it?’ I asked.
‘I needed some cash’
What for?’ (I know – nosey right! But she didn’t mind)
‘I was hungry. I needed to get me a feed.’
I just about swallowed my gum, choked a little, blinked to keep my eyes from falling out of my face.
‘Oh. Yeah – he might be angry ae!’
That was the abridged version of this weekend. I could go on and include the guy who talked to me at the bus stop about his job, how good he was at it, all the professional development opportunities they gave him, the overseas travel…and the weather.
Or the guy from the waterfront – orange builders hemet, clunky bicycle laden with plastic bags and boxes. First he said he liked my scarf and we talked about colours. Then he gave me some mandarins for my lunch. It sounds like he was hitting on me, but seriously, it wasn’t like that at all. He invited me to his church on Willis street, which is where the Wellington fault line runs. ‘So, if you come, you’ll have to keep your fingers,arms, legs, everything crossed that we don’t have an earthquake! No wait’, he chuckled, ‘Don’t cross your legs or you might fall over while you’re walking there! HA. AHAHAHAHA. HEHE. That was a good one’ he said. The icing on the cake was the handshake he taught me before I left. The Trinity handshake (every good Christian should know it so take note people). Father: tilt grasped hands toward person 1, Son: tilt grasped hands toward Person 2, and Holy Spirit: Spirit fingers!!! (appropriately)
WHERE DO THESE PEOPLE COME FROM?? I’m pretty sure they don’t all come from Aro Valley. And WHY DO THEY TALK TO ME? I could write them off as isolated events if they weren’t so..erm…un-isolated. Just when I think I’ve met the strangest stranger, a stranger one comes along.
I can be a bit condescending when I tell these stories, and even while I’m living them - reflecting the brokenness of my own heart in the fact that even though I try to be open and ready to see the good in people, I’m so far short of the perfect love of Jesus. I spend most of my time thinking “are you for real dude?’ (totally understandable in some cases, right?) and “I hope people don’t think I’m as weird as she is, just because we’re talking”. I don’t know if it’s actually possible to live without judging people and placing them in the ‘strange’ category. Part of it is a healthy discernment of who can be trusted and who to be wary of. Yet, some of it is my own pride and self-importance that keeps me from seeing the face of Jesus in the face of these poor, needy, “strange”, mentally ill, fringe. Jesus wasn’t needy or hopeless or crazy, but he was fringe. He was despised and lonely at times, misunderstood, he polarised people, and he reflected views of society back to people around him that they didn’t always like. I’m reminded of what he said about “Whatever you do for the least of your brothers, you do for me”. Receive this love, Jesus.
I think people just want to be listened to. To know that they’ve expressed themselves and been heard. They’ve connected to another human being. We weren’t made to live in isolation. I may be wrong, but I think this is what I think people are drawn to. You know as well as I do, that often my thoughts and attitudes are far from saintly. Sometimes I’m just so speechless, can’t think of anythingintelligent to add, or I’m embarrassed about what other people around might think. And my silence is mistaken for attention and they keep talking. We’re so afraid of silence. WE try to fill quiet moments with music, or meaningless chatter. Conversations flow without cease, talking about anything rather than nothing. But silence is a gap which leaves a space for other things. I dare you to try it this week. Leave some gaps and see who fills them. There are people around who need nothing more than a listening ear. I’m sure you’ll hear some rubbish. But you might be surprised. At the very least, I’m sure you’ll hear something worth blogging about. And you may even be lucky enough to meet the Oracle. Wellington is full of potential (and crazies).