I mean, why even bother?
His steps weren’t exactly aimless. He knew where he was going. He was just internally zapped.
His soul was tired.
Come on in and help yourself to some fresh coffee. Our visits each week always leave me revitalized; you’re a real blessing to me. Plop down over there in a chair while I finish the story . . .
His face must have advertised the threatening storm inside. People he met on the sidewalk glanced at him, quickly scanned his uniform and just as quickly slanted their eyes to other more interesting things.
Turning the doorknob to go into Granger’s building, he paused. Does he really want to put up with my sorry attitudes? Why should he–I sure don’t want to. Sighing at his own sourness, he shook his head as if to fend off a marauding mosquito and went in.
At the upstairs door he found a note taped: “I’LL BE BACK SHORTLY. PLEASE COME ON IN AND PUT ON SOME COFFEE. “
Odd. Granger always made the coffee. Shrugging, Dickerson opened the door. He hadn’t been in there before when no one else was. It wasn’t unpleasant; that wasn’t it. Granger always made visitors feel comfortable. It was more like–packed with silence. Sort of the opposite of a vacuum.
He crossed to the sideboy where Granger kept the coffeemaker and supplies.
“Mmm. Great taste. What’d you choose to brew this morning?”
My people call it ‘coffee’. “Uh, I pounded some Sumatra beans into little pieces with a big rock and gave that a good soaking in really hot water?”
Smile. Okay, knowing smile. Guess that’s why I seek this guy out. He knows I never come by here unless there’s something digging under my skivvies. He’s pretty unflappable. Says what needs sayin’. So where do I start barfing up?
Dickerson nodded wearily. “Yeah, been on duty all night and just got off. So some of this is admittedly from dealing with two-faced liars who all seem to think cops do what they do because they’re too stupid to graduate to anything else.”
Sitting, quiet and patient. Yeah, I like that about this guy, too. He doesn’t overtalk and he tries hard not to talk down. He works at being real.
“We never catch bad guys or gals, right? The only people we pull over are wide-eyed innocents. I mean, it’s like the whole world, including Christians, thinks they ought to be able to get by with stealing, cheating, lying and breaking the law and we’re the jerks because we try to enforce it. I want to say, ‘No, no, I’m listening. It just takes me a minute to process so much STUPID all at once.’ ”
“Who knew, huh? Radar guns that are all defective, video that’s obviously contrived, eyewitnesses who are just as obviously blind, deaf and dumb. And it seems the worst at just owning up and being accountable are the ones we should never have to worry about. Political powerbrokers, social movers and shakers, pastors—-”
He stopped and just shook his head. “Man, I just don’t get it. We teach our kids to learn from their mistakes, right? Well, here are grown adults who can’t learn from them because they’re so busy denying they did anything wrong. And they’ll waste good money hiring lawyers and going to court, all the while knowing down in their GUT they’re guilty as sin! You think they’ll ever once just admit it, face the music and move on?”
Granger got up and refilled both their cups, pushing the box of glazed crullers closer to his young friend. Sparks Dickerson was no mental lightweight. Despite the rigors of wartime military duty and his current position as a sheriff’s deputy, he was a young man of strong and growing faith. Granger knew he struggled with the push-pull nature of a sin-full, fallen world occupied by Godly persons doing their best to authentically represent Him in that shadowed, stained place.
“We didn’t stop short of agreeing to the murder of Jesus instead of facing our own sin and duplicity. Solomon said this is nothing new a long time before Jesus died on the Cross and then messed up all our nifty plans by rising again. I know you know that. What’s brought all this on?”
Dickerson gathered his thoughts while Granger’s clock did its majestic tock-tock-tocking. He knew better than to watch the pendulum as tired as he was.
“You know all the stuff that’s headlining the news, right? All of us regular people know with a moral certainty the top 40 or 50 people in popular national leadership ought to be not only fired but brought up on charges for what they’ve done, failed to do or ignored altogether. And ‘news’? Don’t make me laugh. The major media report nothing that isn’t shoved as far to the Left as they can get it–and they make a lot of it up until forced to retract. And they’ve been caught targeting anyone with the internal fortitude and personal integrity to call this pack of jackals in national leadership on the stuff they’ve been trying so hard to hide from the rest of us!”
Granger sat and listened.
“What really gets me is this notion that Christians are either extremist nutcases who are probably terrorists; or simpering, harmless, gullible fools who are targets of opportunity for all the rest of the world to pick at, dump on and make fun of!
“And the corollary is that nonChristians are brilliant, wise, engaging and always to be trusted and believed. After all, Christian people are the cause of all the world’s problems–them and their goody-two-shoes stuff about purity and decency. Get rid of THEM and watch us fly, baby! The world would be SO much better off without these square, boring, NICE scum. UGGGH!!!”
The distraught young deputy sat quiet for a couple of ‘tocks’.
“When I started as a deputy I was so fed up with war and all the junk that went with it. I had a dream of coming back here and finding a way to make a real difference.” Should I say it?
“You wanna know the part that really stings?”
Granger simply nodded.
“It’s tough to find fault with their reasoning when I see so many who claim Christ as Lord in my professional capacity.” He spoke in a subdued monotone, then sat silent, brooding.
I guess I just need to go get some food and sleep. I don’t know what I thought Granger could do about putting the world back on its hinges.
“The only people mad at you for speaking the truth are those living a lie. Keep speaking it.”
Dickerson looked up, startled. Granger’s voice interrupted his long silence like a lazy brother-in-law wanting to borrow the lawn mower. At dinner time.
“For every misdeed and lie, there are just as many unsung noble deeds and caring expressions. We know nothing of them because those doing them aren’t looking for recognition. They’re out finding ways to serve God and others. It’s not that some people have will power and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others aren’t. That can be true no matter how much a person wants to walk with God.”
Sparks sat thinking. Wonder if he knows how close I was to quitting. . .
“Hey. Your dream doesn’t have an expiration date. Take a deep breath and try again. Do NOT give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.”
2nd Cup friend, I know it gets discouraging to see Wrong seemingly getting all the attention and help while Right sits on the step with nothing to eat and little to wear. It’s frustrating to see people who know better getting by with cheating and lying, stealing and manipulating others. That doesn’t just accidentally happen. Those things are always a matter of choice and usually a habit. Hiding behind ‘mistake’ or ‘misunderstanding’ or ‘I didn’t mean that’ only makes them worse.
Your challenge for the week? Fight even the slightest tendency to settle for ‘lowest-common-denominator” living. It can be deceptively easy to let it creep in because in the midst of so much moral gloom it doesn’t take much effort to shine.
Negative people are predatory. They’re destroyers of self-confidence and -esteem. Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you, even if they occasionally make you angry in the doing.
Remember: the only people mad at those speaking the truth are those living a lie.
Remain intent on being the absolute best ‘you’ possible. There are people in your life whom you unknowingly inspire simply by being you and letting God use who you are to bless them.
Thanks for dropping by and sharing some fresh joe. Tell some friends to come on by with you.
I love you and I believe in you,
© May 2013