I’ll never forget Penny. Not only does the name remind me of LOST but Penny and I had one of those moments. I met her outside of a hospital, sitting on a little bench in the sun. She did most of the talking for the 45 minutes I knew her and she smoked three or four cigarettes,while telling me about her husband Mel who was in the hospital.
He had served in Vietnam and was living with the effects of Agent Orange. He was on dialysis and they’d just found cancer. Penny and Mel have been married for over 50 years. Penny told me about Mel’s inability to sleep, she told me about having kids while Mel was stationed away, she told me about stories that still haunt Mel, she told me about her own mom dying when she was just a teenager and she told me about meeting Mel at a Roller Skating Rink.
I wish everyone could meet Penny. I wish I could accurately describe with words what it was like to hear her story.
My wife and kids recently returned from our own local skating rink (where I’m sure future Penny and Mels are meeting every day). At our own rink, there is a fairly legendary skater in his 70’s who paints the floor with his wheels on a regular basis. The man is smooth like silk, he twists and twirls like no other on those brushes of motion. He’s a joy to look at. You can’t help but smile, those kind of smiles that only come out on rare moments.
I found myself outside of a thrift store with a man from Iraq, a man from Sudan, a woman from Russia and a man from Uzbekistan. The Iraqi and Sudanese had just met and were speakingArabic to one another about finding a mechanic for a car. This was huge because the Iraqi was my friend and we were just trying to figure out what to do with his car that wasn’t working. And a man from Sudan was the answer? A man brought there by a woman from Russia and a man from Uzbekistan. I almost broke down in tears of joy.
There was this old man on a beach in Mexico. White hair and tanned skin and a little bulge of a belly. He enjoyed food. Probably a beer from time to time. I’m a person who stares anyway, but this gentleman, I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. It was as though there was no one else on the beach - even though it was packed. He walked very slowly, stood directly in front of me, and took off his pants in order to enter the ocean. He had on some shorts underneath. Everything he did was slow. Appreciative. Warm. He swam for a while, put back on his pants and walked away. Again, smiles like the one I wore as he left, don’t come very often. I told everyone around to look at that man. I wondered if he was God.
Of course not. Of course not. God isn’t that. God is...
Well, what is God?
We should at least look to the Bible.
King/Judge/Shepherd/Rock/Lion/Fortress/Friend/Father/Co-worker/Potter/Wind/Breath/Vine/ Light/Farmer/Old woman/Mother hen/Bride-groom/Fountain/Gate/Water/Bread/Fire
Is God a rock any more than God is a smoker outside a hospital?
Is God a vine any more than an elderly gentleman on skates?
Is God water any more than a conversation between refugees?
Is God bread any more than an old man on a beach?