Sunday, October 10, 2010

High School Reunion at our Dinner Table

 "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend."
Proverbs 27:17

This evening a friend stopped in.  I'd never met him.  He went to high school with my husband during their junior and senior year.  I heard great stories tonight.  He was funny.  There were lots of moments of laughter and nothing is better than a friend, good food (I hope it was good anyway), and a good walk around the farm after supper.

  But there were moments that stand out in my mind.  Moments that you feel like you get to see a new side of somebody you thought you already knew.  I love meeting people that knew my husband back in times when I didn't know him. 

  My husband was a bit of a hard-headed type in high school.  He has told me this; told me he felt badly for a lot of the ways he acted. If there's one thing I can always be sure of, it's that my husband is who he says he is and he's not hiding anything.

  I like that.  It is admirable to me.

Sure, it may not always be pretty, but whose life is?  But I love seeing clearly.
He told me he feels badly for the way he treated this guy who was visiting us tonight: Dean.  

   My farmer was the big sports guy at his school, the jock, at least, so Dean tells me; Dean was much younger than the others in his class; he was scrawny, and new to the school in his junior year, and, as he told me tonight, he was one of the few that loved God and wasn't afraid to admit it. He was an easy target for the other guys.

  I already knew this though; my Farmer had told me.

  Sure, there have been times I've seen my husband lie; he has lied when he hasn't wanted to hurt somebody's feelings.  Yes, I've heard it said that lying is always wrong, but he is just too kind sometimes to be that honest:
he is a kindness fibber.

  Example: he saw me cry too often during pregnancy at how big and uncomfortable I was, that when I asked how I looked in a dress that I know just made me look like a side-ways camel, he told me I looked pretty.

  I know I didn't look pretty.

  (Sure, carrying a baby is a blessed thing and an amazing gift, and I am not by any means demeaning such a wonderful thing.  But a man is still a man, and, well, to most, it "just ain't pretty."  I can accept that.  It's truth and I know it.  It doesn't hurt now, but it hurt then.  If he had told me the honest truth of what he really thought, it would not have been "pretty."
Weird, maybe.
Large, definitely.
Cumbersome, absolutely.)

Unless you've been hurt by unkind words, you might not understand this kind of lying.  That's fine.  But I have, and so I don't see it as such.

I see it as it is:
untruth dipped in kindness. 

   Sometimes truth can be lacking in tact.  We so admire being blunt and being ourselves and being "honest" these days that tact seems to have gone.

  My husband lied to me when he was in Iraq. I asked him if he was safe because I wanted to know. I wanted to know if I was justified in my worry; but he said there was no danger around; that he was in a place where there was nothing going on that was dangerous at all.  Then when he got back I found out he was lying; that it was very dangerous at times, especially one time when he was on a convoy and they had to stop because they got a flat tire, and another group passed them; then that group suffered a roadside bombing, wounded.  He lied because he didn't want me to worry; I guess he felt it would just be added trouble on me to worry.  Lying, in some cases, is, in my opinion, honorable.  I don't have anything at all to back this statement up except my own experience of feeling it.  I think there should be another word for this than lying.  Lying, to me, denotes wrong, selfishly motivated means of evading truth that would hurt that person.  But again, that's just totally me.  When a man sees a woman he loves crying and asking if he will come back to her and he promises he will, not knowing if he honestly can keep that promise, it is the honorable thing to do.

I call it untruth bathed in chivalry.

  Tonight Dean told us stories of my Farmer that showed how high school boys can be.

My Farmer stopped him in his tracks and said,
 "I know I was mean and did some stupid things in high school, and I want you to know I am sorry for doing them and I feel really badly for it."

  I can tell by Dean's smile, and the way he spoke to my Farmer the rest of the night that he felt admiration for him.  How could he not?   The great thing is, Dean felt perfectly comfortable telling my Farmer things that he felt we needed: things about bringing up our children that maybe he saw we weren't doing the best we could be.  Things we needed.  He was blunt.
   He pinpointed the most important things in life: the things that last and we take with us in eternity.  He was very loving in the way he said it.  When politics and the evils of this world were set on the table, he responded in a positive way, a way that we could make a difference.  And it was acknowledged with appreciation.

  Dean is a missionary; he works with pastors in Africa to help them build their churches and provide means for the people in their congregations to work and make a living, as well as being given the gospel.  He sees the need to help people want Christ for salvation, not as a way to get rich, as the people in poverty sometimes do.  But he wants to help them have a better life on earth as well, by their own sweat and confidence in the ability to work.  He is extremely intelligent, hard-working, and the love he has for people, for God, and for making our world a better place, is palpable.  But he is humble and kind, and he and my Farmer acted as brothers.  It was very sweet for me to see.  Two grown men who lived as high school strangers now behaving as if they didn't want the night to end because they enjoyed each others company so much.  They live different lives with different paths, but they met at the table tonight like brothers.  Each admirable and admiring in so many ways.

  It was a momentary taste of heaven.  Strangers, who have found salvation by kneeling at the foot of the cross and acknowledging the need for Christ, despite our different problems and areas of flaw; after all, that is why we need a Saviour.  And this incredible act of salvation makes people then become as brothers, to see each other as what we are: travelers of this world together.
  It is an amazing gift to see, two boys at different places in high school, now grown up as friends.
  I was sorry to see the night end.

  It was a night of men and honor.

1 comment:

  1. When I read your post about your husband & the high school friend.I just had this feeling God had spoke to the high school friend to come and
    open this door for both of these men. It was wonderful how you told it.
    I will visit again soon. Loved your blog.


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