I went to play disc golf at a local park yesterday with my friend, Shawn Brown. It’s golf with frisbees, but that’s not what this post is about, exactly.We played eighteen holes through the woods on trails and enjoyed telling stories and laughing. While waiting for a group of five guys ahead of us who were drinking and smoking, we snidely confessed to one another that “we wouldn’t know how to be with guys like that, how to minister to them or where even to begin.” (Is that an oxymoron, to snidely confess? You may know what I’m talking about–these half confessions, half slights, uh, half self-congratulations.)
One hole later they asked us to join them…We all threw our frisbies (they call them discs and these guys were good however drunk) then started talking. Long-haired, darkened from the sun, smoking and well-watered, Eric was taken with the fact that I said I work for an organization that produces Christian music. Seems it sobered him automatically. He repeated that when I said something about Christian music something stirred in him.
“Why? What was it?” I asked.
“Because I too am Christlike,” Eric said. I’d never heard anyone describe themselves that way.
“That’s great–I am too,” I said.
“Even though I’m an alcoholic and drug addict I try to bless others, to live my life according to love thy neighbor,” Eric said.
After he described the way his girlfriend came home from her church full of the Spirit and kicked him out, he said, “I have a problem with that: she was the same woman who had asked me to roll her another joint just two nights before.”
I’m not always sure what to say in these situations but what Eric said next led Shawn to pray for him. “I’m just, desperate. I’m desperate. I know there’s something more.”
There is, there is, we assured him, and Shawn and I put our hands on his quavering shoulders and prayed with him. One of the others came over as we finished. “Are you praying? Wow, are you praying?”
“Name’s Greg, what’s yours?” I said to the one surprised we were praying. “Evil,” he said smiling then shook our hands but kept showing his pleasure at our sharing prayer with his friend, Eric. Eric took down my name and phone number. “Have you ever heard of AA?” I asked him. Much of the time they show their love and commitment to one another more strongly than a lot of churches.
Eric had tears in his eyes as he reached to hug me then Shawn, and we got in our cars and left. Shawn pointed out that God has a great sense of humor–we had said we could not, would not minister to these guys, but God led us otherwise, and it was they who asked us to be with them. Would you say a prayer for Eric to find more?