I have this new friend from my church named Holly, and she is a sweet girl that is basically cute as a button. She invited me to come and hang out with her and some friends at Denver Seminary tnoight, and since I have been struggling to create a social life I basically jumped on the opportunity. Lots of people leading a life of which I will be severely jealous? I am THERE!
So I walked into the apartment tonight to face a waiting circle of people who looked like they were straight out of SPU. John with his hoody and red face from too much unregulated heat in the small space; Angie wearing a hoodie and jacket over top of it looked like she belonged at Camp Casey; other John in a zip up that could have been Ashton’s hall sweat shirt one year; Mike with his floppy hair and few days scruff; and Tim who should have been from Geneva and one of my brother’s friends from high school based simply on his long sleeve tshirt that fit just right and worn out blue jeans–somehow it reminded me of Illinios. (and what? He went to Taylor. I know my stereotypes)
We talked about a lot of things, my work, their studies, our lives, thoughts for the future. Mike asked me about God stuff and that almost started to go south, while Tim was leaning in and [other] John was looking supremely interested and Holly looked as keen as ever in her pearl necklace and big curious eyes. Mike, Mike. I know you’re an MDiv. But do you know what you’re getting yourself into? I tried to skirt the questions, tried to dance around the issues. I used words like “Calvinism” and phrases like “drawing close.” He mentioned “asking” and “seeking” and he sounded like Keeleh in my dorm room sophomore year before we went for Ethiopian, lecturing me that I do not have because I do not ask.
But even while we charted the uneasy waters around personal relationships with God and the questions of theology, and I’m sure my face was flushed with more than just the heat, Mike knew and he kept pushing. And Tim kept leaning forward. I almost snapped and went right into it. Do you want to know about the last few years of my life Mike Clancy? We’ve only just met, but if you’re going down this road, do you want to see where it ends? Do you want to know the hurt I’ve caused and the pain I’ve experienced? Do you really want to know why I struggle with head knowledge? Because it’s hard to open up when you’re just tired of being hurt over and over. It’s so much safer to read Tozer, to podcast Chandler, to listen to Aaron, to take notes and memorize and never open up the locked up cage within my bosom.
But then people came in to join us and the room was abuzz with a burst of activity. I met a dozen people, I was laughing, I was eating pizza and listening to the boys sing along with Tim McGraw and talk about noise complaints. I was tasting Tim’s beer and scrapping salt from the bottom of the popcorn bowl. I was standing and sitting. I talked with Tim about shooting and guns and how desperately I want to try it. I told Ben about work, about being treated like a subhuman but loving my team.
But all that time, there was Mike, laughing and talking with everyone. He kept tossing his head to the side to get the hair out of his eyes which reminds me of Caleb and makes me feel like we are friends already. And there was Tim who has a great heart and this after only spending one evening with him. And Ben, with his skinnier jeans, the tshirt and cordorouy jacket with the brown leather-pointy toed shoes looked like he was from Seattle and I could have hugged him. And they seemed to actually want to know me. I mean, really. I was invited on a road trip, and Tim said he thinks I’m in a great place and Mike said to come back any time.
And I drove home to the sound of Keith Urban’s Kiss A Girl and then Free Falling.
Can life get better?
Friends. Jesus. You are way too good. We’ll work this all out.