Friday, October 8, 2010


I don't know much about my friend Joe. Even though I've had about 30 conversations with Joe, which is more than I've had with people I think I know well or consider friends, our friendship has not gone very deep. I want that to change.

Maybe it is the 40 year age difference, on top of being different sexes. Maybe it is because he doesn't trust me. Maybe he doesn't trust anyone. I honestly think he does trust me, a little bit. But almost more importantly - do I trust him?

Joe might trust me because after talking all year, he would give me bagels. I have yet to really give Joe anything, but he has given me fresh bagels someone had given him. I took them, because he offered, and when people offer something, especially a new friend, I take them up on their offer. The man has the hook-up. And, I don't. I'm bringing him some blankets for our friend Chris, but Joe doesn't need anything. He never does. I think someone brought him a flashlight once so he could read in the dark.

Joe likes to tell me everything that goes on in the streets. He keeps me updated on how everyone is doing, what crazy thing happened last night and who is in jail and who is out this week. We had a mutual friend, Lil Jon, die on the streets last spring. We shared that together. We still talk about him. He loves to talk about sports, constantly fiddling with his radio for the current game. We talk about what jobs we would like to have and which one's we would never do (window washing the Willis ((Sears)) Tower).

Joe won't tell me where he came from. He won't say why he doesn't have a job or why he doesn't want one. I know small information about his brother, his family. But this man is tough to crack. His personal life is bound tightly in his shell. Perhaps it is because no one has cared for so long that he doesn't want to talk about life. Or could it be he doesn't think his story is important, or interesting, or something I want to know. I want to know. Maybe he just doesn't want to tell me. Why should he, anyway? Maybe sharing our stories is just a vulnerable way to make our own selves feel better.

I'd like to know more about Joe. But only if he wants me to know more about him. I'd like to help him out if I can, maybe I already do as much as I ever will. He helps me look at life differently. He helps me care about people I wouldn't otherwise. Joe helps me be a better person, not because I go talk to him or because he is my friend, but because he challenges me to look at my own life.

I think brokenness in our stories do need to be unearthed and healed. That is what being in Christ means. But do we have pride in our story? Do we have issues we parade, or hide, or think are better than others? I can sense that I have pride even in my openness with people. It doesn't sound like a bad thing, and inherently is not, but what is my motive? Who am I really trying to help? How is God working in the situation or am I taking the reigns instead of letting Him work? Okay. Enough. You'll hear more about Joe.


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