Monday, March 27, 2006

.:true:.

Sometimes the unexpected happens... when your expectations don’t come through, there is always something that God wants you to see a little differently than you had originally planned...

So, Saturday...

The Plan: Surfing at the beach... I was with a student in the youth group who ‘wanted me to teach’ her how to surf... the problem with this is that I barely know how... okay, now that we’ve cleared that up...

Niel and Jen were going to meet us there... which we were counting on, because when you go to the beach, you have stuff... towels, cell phones, a good book, sunglasses... you get the idea... and you can’t just leave this stuff unattended on the beach in South Africa... things there have a tendancy of ‘walking away’... So the normal ‘surfing routine’, as I call it, is that Jen sunbathes on the beach (watches our stuff) while the rest of us get down to what I’ve found really matters in life (surfing)... right??

On my way there, I called Niel to see if they were ‘en route’... he said they’d be there in 20 minutes... perfect... so Candace (student) and I showed up at the beach, and I figured that by the time I got all the ‘gear’ ready and explained the ‘basics’ of surfing, that Niel and Jen would be there...

The beach was packed... like any normal weekend... the teenie-boppers, the surfer dudes, the old men in speedo’s... are we getting a glimpse? At the shoreline there was a drop-off where the tide was, but had gone back out, creating a sort of ‘cliff’ just before the water’s edge... There were a handfull of surfers and body-boarders scattered in the water about 100 yards out or so...

Now... The ‘gear’ was ready and the ‘basics’ were explained... and there was no sign of Niel and Jen... for a good half hour... for those of you who know me well, you’d think that by now my impatience must be starting to kick in to first gear... but I was patient... I called Niel again. he said he was sorry but they had run into a few ‘snags’ and they would be there as soon as they could...

Meanwhile I noticed a few little black boys playing about 25 yards to the right of us... They had the poorest clothes on and were the only one’s on the beach that weren’t a ‘shade’ of white... as we continued to wait, Candace and I were just talking about random things... I kept noticing that the smallest of the black boys kept getting closer and closer to us as he was occupying himself in the sand... he couldn’t have been any older than 6... you could tell that he kept looking at us but was trying very hard not to be noticed doing so... He finally ended up about six feet in front of us... the other boys kept looking at him funny and kept shouting at him in some African dialect... I thought he was pretty brave... I asked him if he was having fun and he just looked at me and smiled... I asked him what his name was and he looked at me and mumbled something shyly... I soon realized that he didn’t understand a word of what I was saying... I wondered, out of all the people on the beach, why was he drawn to me?

This little boy kept playing in the sand and eventually wandered off a ways... I told Candace that I was going to go down to the shore and see how the water was... as I was walking towards the ocean I sensed something coming towards me from behind.. I turned and saw the same little boy running at me... as soon as our eyes met he stopped cold in his tracks... and so did I... we both stood there in this awkward, ‘I can’t communicate with you’ sort of moment... his eyes eventually gravitated toward the ‘cliff’ at the shoreline and then back to mine, but a devilish grin was working it’s way up in the coner of his mouth... the kind of look that says ‘do you dare me?’ I immediately smiled, appreciating this young boy’s clever communication technique... I raised my eyebrows as if to say ‘yes, I DO dare you’. His devilish grin immediately turned into a look of focus... He looked at me one last time, revved his little engine and ran as fast as he possibly could in the soft sand, headed straight towards the edge of the cliff... at the edge he leaped with everything his might would allow him to leap...

I wondered again, as I was watching this unfold, this picture, this forty pounds of boy flying through the air, what he may have been drawn to...

maybe he thought my surfboard was pretty...

maybe he thought Candace was pretty...

maybe he just thought I talked funny, unlike anything he had heard...

maybe it was the fact that I smiled at him when he first saw me... hmm...

After he landed in the sand, he got up and ran back to his starting line again laughing the whole way... I thought to myself, this little boy’s joy is the joy that comes only from God... even if he doesn’t know God, God is here...

this moment was true...

this moment was reality...

this moment is what God intended...

When he got back to his starting line, he had that same ‘do you dare me?’ look in his eyes, but even more, the look that said ‘even if you don’t dare me to, you better believe I’m doing THAT again!’... he put his hands on his knees in the ‘ready’ postion and then looked at me... I then approached the starting line, adopted the ‘do you dare me?’ look in my own eyes, put my hands on my knees to let him know that I was ready... we both raised our eyebrows at each other, took off... and jumped...

there... 40 pounds of boy.

here... 170 pounds of boy (yes, boy).

flying... experiencing joy... experiencing God...

We repeated this practice about seven or eight times before I realized that there were now 4 other boys besides Mr. 40 and Mr. 170... all laughing... all enjoying... all speaking the same language... even if it was only for a brief time...

Thier language: joy

My language: Christ’s love

Joy + Christ’s love = same language

(are you seeing this?)

Eventually they grew bored with me and the jumping game... some wandered to the waters of the Ocean, some to the shade of the life-gaurd stand, some back to their spot on the beach, all-the-while still playing...

So, Saturday...

I was reminded that there is always a language that communicates to everyone...

you don’t have to know someone’s name (as much as I wanted to)...

you don’t have to have a degree in theology...

you don’t have to audibly speak in a way that is understandable...

People were drawn to Christ, People are drawn to Christ...

People followed Christ, People follow Christ...

why?

Christ showed love in a way that transcends anyone’s understanding...

I want to live like that.



Sometimes the unexpected happens... when your expectations don’t come through, there is always something that God wants you to see a little differently than you had originally planned...

14 comments:

ANTI-ONION SOCIETY said...

eric,
reading this post was a beautiful start to my Michigan Monday mornig. I can picture the scene just as you described it - thanks for telling this story! I bet you'll never forget him..
:)

ANTI-ONION SOCIETY said...

"mornig?"
what the..
it's clearly too early for me to be typing.

Anonymous said...

looking good man, almost good enough to say dont come back to michigan, because michigan makes people fat.

-tim

Nicholas Mark Wagenmaker said...

thats an awesome and hilarious story...

Andrea Rudd said...

Eric - I love that story! Thanks for keeping us all updated on your life. I miss you and cant wait to see you again.
-Andrea

M said...

I love it! Save it for a chapter in a book you write about your experiences. I'll be your first buyer!

Q said...

How fun was that??? Wow, can you bring them home with you?? Mostly just bring the one in orange home k?
miss you, love you...love your writing...

Wags said...

Em, you're the first person that has ever told me to write a book.... short stories I may be able to do, but a book?!?!?! Let's keep this blog serious... seriously... seriously serious. I'll look into giving Dr. Seuss a call though...

Jerry DePoy Jr. said...

Truth transcends time and culture, and adrenaline runs in the veins of all young boys. We speak a common language!
Miss you brother,
- Jerry

M said...

Well you could always do a book of short stories!

Daniel Rudd said...

hopefully you'll be back just in time to take the buddies to lake michigan for some cliff jumping.

Lindsey Noel said...

awesome!! it is so cool to see how body launguage is universal for the most part and i love how we can be taught so much by the youngest of children.

looks like lake mich is going to seem lame to the ocean when you come back

Zaq Collinz said...

Pretty sweet bro....dude ur coming home soon....drop me a line...guitarman52@gmail.com

I have many questions for you.


Zaq Collinz

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