His name is Earl. And he is not exactly a new person. In one month from today, Earl will turn 60. On Christmas of all days. But it was his presence this afternoon that was truly a gift. And a great surprise.
I will admit that I did not want to meet someone today. I wanted to stay inside and catch up on whatever it is people catch up on. I was texting this sentiment to a friend when Earl rode his bike up to the front gate of my yard. Talk about good timing.
Since my front door was open for some reason, I took it as a sign that Earl was just the person I needed to meet. Or remeet. So here’s another confession: I already knew Earl. We met years ago.
Earl and I have history and stories that we share. One story in particular became one of my first blog posts on this site. It’s a story about a guy helping another guy out. A story about friends becoming “brothers from other mothers.” A story about God using one to help the other. And then some... our daughters used to play together too, at the church we both attended but no longer belong to.
Our story was cut short when I moved away to take a church out of state. But I was happy to learn (or relearn) that Earl still likes the Lakers. Earl still does construction jobs. Earl still talks game. And Earl continues to work on his faith. More importantly Earl is still trying. He’s tasted death and, for now, refuses to let it back into his body.
It’s been five years since we last saw each other. In that time I had a bout with cancer. And he battled life and death when his liver and kidneys began to fail him. We both survived and came out better people. Different than we were back then. And so, it made sense that I would be meeting him again, as someone new.
Spending my lazy afternoon with Earl helped me realize that people change. We are not the same people we once were. Whether it’s been a day, a week, or a few decades, we have to acknowledge that some of the people we thought we knew can turn out not to be the people we thought they were. And we won’t know how different they are (or we are) unless we sit down and enjoy an afternoon together getting bitten by mosquitos and learning about one another all over again.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one ..."