The sauna/steam room… By golly, some of the greatest conversations happen in there! Last night, my friend Raymond and I went in the steam room after our workout. Raymond started to ask me questions about the meaning of being religious. Before I could respond, the man sitting in their next to us decided to chime in on the topic.
Mike was an older gentleman with just his swim trunks and sandals on. He sat on the lower deck beneath Raymond and I with his head dripping sweat. He had a very hairy chest with a full head of black hair. He sat hunched over with a giant circle on his right shoulder, like the ones Michael Phelps had on him during the Summer Olympics.
Mike said, “I don’t go to church but I have an understanding of God. I help the homeless and hungry when I can. I do my best to help to be a good person, opening doors and smiling at people.” I gently nodded and encouraged Mike as he went on, “See I’m 53, divorced, 2 kids with autism, and I have ADHD.” Compassionately, I was fully engaged with Mike, he added, “And 4 years ago, I was in a dirt bike accident which has left me in this shoulder pain. I can feel the pain in my shoulder everyday now.”
I sympathized with Mike and related. I said something along these lines, “Mike, I hear you. We all have our crosses to bear. These crosses bring us closer to God. He meets us where we are in our lives. My dad has been taking care of my disabled mom for 18 years. Sometimes, it’s like, why me? Why this? But all the struggles bring us closer to Him. To understanding His love.”
Mike is an amazing man. He went on to share about all the good things he does in his day-to-day life. At the end of the day, if you go to church or do good deeds… that’s not for us to judge. He knows us, He made us in His image and He know’s what our heart of hearts feels. It’s about how to live our lives. The how we live is more important than the what we do. And the why we live answers our greatest questions.
How will you live your day today? Will you bless a meal before you eat it? Will you awkwardly hold a door open extra longer because you see an old man struggling to walk towards the door with his walker? Will you stop to be present in the moment and thank God for your current health? Will you turn down your blaring Beyonce when you pull up to a stop light with your windows down out of respect to the guy next to you? Will you acknowledge the lady picking up trash at the restaurant because she is just as flesh as you and I? How will you live?
We all have even the slightest of yearning for understanding of knowing Him. This blog isn’t intended for those who are strong in their faith however its my hope that it connects with you. It’s truly meant for friends who have believed in the past and lost hope or who want to believe in something but are confused. My truest of intentions are to bring the best out in people and walk side by side with you as we embark in this walk together towards being good people.
I’ll close with a story Mike shared with us that inspired me to write this blog, “One time my two autistic kids were with me shopping at Smart & Final. Michael my boy was running around singing in the store and Fay my youngest daughter stopped all of the sudden. She walked behind me towards something. As I turned around, I saw my white daughter helping a black mother with three boys. The mother and boys had knocked over a giant display of chips and salsa. There was a mess everywhere and my daughter who couldn’t speak well went over to the mother and hugged her. In sign, she rubbed her chest and tried to share with the mother that she loved her.” Thank you Fay for modeling the way for HOW we can be agents for the common good.
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