Saturday, October 26, 2002

Excuse me, but do you mind if I whine for a moment? I mean, this IS my little corner of the world wide web, right? You don't have to read any further if you don't want to. You have my permission (not that you need it) to go to the kitchen and whip up a ham sandwich or something. Maybe you would be better off surfing over to You know, catch up on the news. But if you stick around, just understand... it's about to get ugly.

You see, it's not like I've got nothing to do. I've been receiving a phone call from an individual for 4 straight days. This individual is only available to talk at certain hours. He goes to bed early. But he has no job. He has no responsibilities of any sort that I can see. He's not totally healthy but he's certainly not at deaths door. So this person has been calling me and wanting me to come by and see him. He gave no reason when he spoke with my secretary, my wife, and my son, all at different times. I tried to go see him Wednesday. It was nearly 10pm. I had not been home yet. I was logging my 13th hour of work for the day. Yet it seemed important enough to go and see him. I mean he had called FOUR TIMES. But when I arrived he was already asleep. I had tried to call him twice earlier and he was unavailable or could not be found. Same difference.

Sunday through Thursday were all long days for me this week. I'm not griping. That isn't a complaint. It is just a fact. I am a pastor which means that I really should show up in the office in the mornings. But I am also a youth pastor which means I really should be available when kids get out of school. And so 3 out of 7 nights each week I am with teens until at least 8pm and often until 9 or 10pm. So if I show up at the office at 9am and work until 9pm, that is your basic 12 hour day. It happens in every industry and in every office at times. But when you do it 52 weeks a year it can begin to wear. God help me if somebody should call a meeting on another night. And I can't seem to come home from being with kids and go straight to sleep. I use to but not anymore. That's why I'm blogging at 12:30 in the morning. Hey, I'm 47 years old. It's tougher than it use to be! I use to actually participate in foot races with teens. I would occasionally even win. Now I just try to wear shoes that they don't laugh at. It's a compromise at best.

On Thursday afternoon at about 3:30 I decided to put everything down and go see this man. I had a desk full of things to do. But 4 days is a long time to be calling your pastor. So I went. When I showed up at his place of residence he was surrounded by 6 women. Six. They were in an animated conversation and obviously enjoying themselves. The last time I was surrounded by six women my sleeve was rolled up. One was taking blood (mine), one was filling out forms, one was "tsk, tsk, tsking" over my blood pressure, one was sitting behind a desk waiting for me to write a check, and two were sitting in the waiting room wishing I'd hurry up. Life is not always fair. But my friend here was the smiling center of attention.

He saw me and said, "Where have you been?" I explained that I had been quite busy. I apologized that it had taken me so long to make an appearance. I asked him how he was. He said, "Let's go outside." So we did. I sat down on a rocking chair. He was already sitting. He began talking about his day. Somebody had come by and brought him a basket of fresh fruit. An Assembly of God pastor had happened across him. They talked for awhile and then my friend got prayed for. He had a great lunch and told me what they had served. I noticed the rumbling in my stomach and realized I had not eaten since the night before. No, wait. The night before was Wednesday and I had missed the "Family Fellowship Meal" at church because I had been at a hospital in St. Louis visiting a very, very, ill person. I missed supper altogether. I quickly calculated that it had been about 27 hours since I had eaten a real meal. And that was a lunch that doubled as a meeting. (Note to self: eat occasionally.)

It was at this point that I decided to cut to the chase. I asked, "So how can I help you? What do you need?"

It was his reply that pushed me over the edge. He spoke very casually as he looked out across the street at some squirrels running across a lawn and up a tree. The words are branded in my mind. He said... and I quote... "I don't need nothing. I was just bored." He kept talking but I have no idea what he said. He rattled on for about 2 minutes. I did not hear a word. I know he was talking because his mouth was moving. I however, was listening to a different voice. It was a voice in my head. The voice said.... "Kill him." Then the voice said, "Make it hurt." Finally the voice said, "You are too weak. You have not eaten. Go eat and then come back and kill him."

I compromised with the voice. I stood up, interrupting him in mid-sentence. I vividly remember what I said. I would like to share it with you. I said, "You have fresh fruit. You had a nice lunch. You are talking to nice ladies. You have been prayed with. I have a 13 year old in the hospital with leukemia. I have teenagers coming to church tonight and I'm not ready for them. I have a children's anti-halloween party to plan for Saturday. I have to speak to 400 people Sunday morning and I don't yet know what I am going to say. I have not eaten in 27 hours. I do NOT have time for bored." And I walked away. I left him sitting there. I had ridden my motorcycle. I took the helmet off of the right handle bar and slipped it over my head. I closed the face mask. Passing traffic did not need to hear what I was about to say. I started the engine. I revved it up. Loudly. I drove off leaving as much noise in my wake as I could. I made my way to Arby's and as I did I talked to God. I will not tell you what I said. It was not intended for human ears. But God understood. I don't think that God has time for bored either. Somehow I cannot picture Jesus being approached by a centurian, asking what he wanted, and hearing the centurian reply, "Nothing. I was just bored." It didn't happen. But it does now.

And so I am declaring a "State of Emergency." It is for all of the bored people in America. I wish to point out that boredom is dumb. Oh, there are occasional exceptions. I got a letter from my little friend with Leukemia this week. She told me she was writing from "my boring bed." That, my friends, is a different story. Boredom has been forced upon her by a disease that threatens to rob her of breath and heartbeat at a very early age. But to all of you who are bored because things are good and you can't find anything worth doing I just want to leave you a little message. Here it is....

Get a life.