I have the privilege of meeting with a variety of men on a fairly regular basis. Some are skeptics, others are seeking, others are lethargic and still others believe. All have become cherished friends. Andrew (not is actual name) is one of those friends. He has surrendered, sincerely but clumsily, to Jesus. He has begun attending a weekly bible study, is an alcoholic who is in recovery, has established a budget, is reconnecting with his children, has paid off all his traffic tickets (which were considerable), is working two jobs and is presently attempting to get a new driver’s license, as the former one had been revoked. Here’s a recent conversation we had over dinner.
Me: So, were you able to get your driver’s license?
Andrew: I tried.
Me: What happened?
Andrew: Well, I hopped on a number of buses to get to Norristown (where the nearest PA Dept of Transportation Office is located) on Monday. It took me two hours to get there and two hours to get back.
Andrew: And, when I got there, the Dept of Transportation was closed. They’re closed on Mondays.
Me: Really?! I can’t believe they were closed on a weekday?!
Andrew: Yeah, but it was my fault.
Me: Your fault?! How so? As a state run office, you’d think they would be open every weekday.
Andrew: Maybe so, but I should have checked their hours on-line before I went, to make sure they were open.
Did you notice the dynamics of that conversation? I was painting Andrew as a victim but he politely refused to go there. I was criticizing the PA Dept of Transportation, while Andy was criticizing himself. He was accepting responsibility and I was encouraging him to place it elsewhere. Once I calmed down, I recognized as much and applauded him for it.
Andrew understands, better than I do, that for his life to remain on course, to live productively, he must not allow himself to become a victim. That will only lead to bitterness, a malignancy that can kill, albeit in slow increments. No, Andrew knows that he cannot go there. He has spent most of his life there and doesn't want to return. It is nothing short of inspiring to watch his life begin to gain traction in a number of ways.
I like to say that I provide Andrew guidance when in fact Andrew sometimes guides me. I like to say that I am a chaplain at a cancer center, when in fact, sometimes cancer patients chaplain me. God’s wonderful irony.
On behalf of those patients, on behalf of Andrew……..and on behalf of Greg, thank you for making it all possible.