Last week was a bad week for blogging. I was sick for a few days and for the rest I was having trouble formulating coherent thoughts. I either had too many or too few images come to mind and I couldn’t get any of it down on paper. I was less free than I usually am with descriptions, etc.
This weekend I watched my childhood best friend give his testimony in church. The church was in downtown Cincinnati in an old city building which is connected to a coffee shop. He had a new haircut and was wearing a green shirt; he looked tan too, he looked good. The sun came through the windows which created an aesthetically beautiful atmosphere inside the church but also physically uncomfortable because it wasn’t air-conditioned. The band played a few songs, old hymns with modern instruments: electric guitars, a drum set, etc. The singer had a neatly trimmed beard and a good voice.
The pastor spoke about the narrow and wide path. The narrow path is difficult, fraught with challenges but also with rewards. On the other hand the wide path is easy. That’s where we go when we turn on auto-pilot and let our fears lead us. The human tendency is toward a dramatization of one’s own life, of focusing on the negative rather than the positive because it’s very easy to forget the positive. A big part of the narrow road is gratitude. To be constantly reflecting on the good things we have forgotten about so as to renew our trust in God. If we only focus on the negative our picture of God will be distorted.
At this point my friend walked up on stage to talk about his story. He talked about the chronic drinking and partying which made him unhappy. He didn’t want to be the person he was becoming. He talked about turning away from God and then about turning back.
This touched me very deeply. I thought about when we were kids wondering about what we’d be like as men. For the first time in a long time I recognized old facial expressions in him. A deep and rare satisfaction.
© Daniel Douglas