Thursday, October 19, 2006
Of Bag Boys and Kierkegaard
The first Friend George Fox said we should, “…walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone.” I thought about that today as I talked to the bag boy at the grocery next to my office. Actually, the bag boy is no boy – I’d guess him to be about my age. He has some sort of problems, but is a fascinating guy. He reads philosophy and mathematics and always wants to talk religion and politics with me when I come through his line. Which I do almost daily. He’s come to be one of the ordinary treasures in my life. It’s one of the ways in which I’m growing.
It’s always been easy for me to God in others in the abstract. It was a little harder to do in the reality of day to day life. Linus Van Pelt, the famous blanket dragging philosopher of “Peanuts” fame once declared to his sister Lucy that he was going to help the world. She pointed out how he had a difficult time with people. To which he exclaimed, “I love mankind; it’s people I can’t stand.”
I can love every homeless child, every neighbor, every criminal, every fellow worker, even every television preacher and used car salesman in the abstract. It’s when they are up close and personal that I have a problem. I have that problem because I’m still learning to see the light of God shining in and through them. It’s not that it’s not shining there – it’s just that I haven’t looked at them through the eyes of God’s love.
Learning to see the Light of Christ in others helps me see the possibilities and challenges with which God imbues my life and others lives. When I learn to see by God’s light, I find that our oddities, our grittiness, and the occasions when we hurt or are hurt, can lead us to a deeper knowledge of each other. And I give thanks for philosophical bag boys.