Fishers of Men

“God, send me some friends, today, I’m lonely.”

It was the 3rd day of my 7 day cruise with my cousins. My cousin invited me to nanny her children while on the cruise and when I wasn’t watching the kids I had free time to enjoy myself. I’m not 21 and i didn’t want to gamble without my parents around, so that cut down a lot of what I could do on the ship. I fancied myself to a few shows, some activities but a lot of stuff was family centered so flying solo eliminated some of the activities. Despite all the amazing things the ship had to offer,  by day three, I had this nagging sense of loneliness. I had the day off until dinner time and that morning,I found myself asking God to send me someone.  A friend.

Late that night I was standing in line for a comedy show. Drained physically from a long day, I dazed in and out of reality. There was a lady in front of me attempting small talk with a guy in the wheelchair in front of me. I pretended I wasn’t listening, and deep down hoped she’d talk to me too. A few minutes passed.

“Are you his wife?” The lady asked, pointing to the guy in the wheelchair. I realized then, that I had drifted rather close to him.

I chuckled. “No, I’m 20.,” expecting her to just apologize and the conversation end, she continued.

“oh well you never know these days. You with family?”
I explained that I was here nannying my cousins and that they were already asleep with their parents so I had the night free but that my actual family was at home.

“Where’s home?”

“Dallas.”

We continued small talk and it became clear as she slurred words and said silly things that she was drunk. She introduced me to her girlfriend and she started talking to me as well. They were quite the pair. Another few minutes passed and our conversation continued. Then, the first lady I had met stopped…looked at me and leaned over to her girlfriend and said loud enough for me to hear.

“Look at her, she loves life so much and she’s sober right now.” She continued.

“Look at you, Marlie, you’re so pretty and you’re not even wearing any makeup.”

They invited me to sit with them for the show. They offered to buy me a coke and I said no, to be polite, It was already so nice just to have some people to talk to. She ordered me a coke anyways. We were 30 minutes early to the show so we could get good seats. We talked about our lives. They were two teachers, best friends since high school. They’ve been teaching for 25 years. One taught at military bases in China, so basically teaching the children of the US generals. The other taught high school. When we weren’t talking about our lives, they were trying to explain why they were drunk. “Ya know Marlie,” they’d start, “we work hard 9 months of the year…. if we wanna take a break, have a little fun, we can.” It broke my heart, really. I assured them that I wasn’t judging them or thinking any less of them. They asked me where I went to school. I told them.

“I’ve heard of it actually. That’s a Baptist school right?”
“Yes, it is.” Then, they knew. I was a Christian.

And how funny the situation, how much of a divine appointment. A baptist college student runs into drunk lesbians. Surely, this couldn’t end well. Getting drunk and being gay are viewed as the some of the ” biggest sins” in Christian world.   Surely, as a christian of this christian mindset for 15 years, I just had to put these ladies in their place. Right?  Wrong.
Guys, it was an out of body experience. Loving them was easy because God was loving them through me. No way that was me, I’m the most judgmental person I know. Drunk people make me queasy, and I had been avoiding them the whole cruise. Not only did God let me see them the way He does. God used them to speak to me. They encouraged me more in that 30 minutes of knowing them than many of my friends at my school.

I thanked them for the coke, and for talking with me.  I thanked them for being my friends. And, that night as I went to sleep and thought about the friends God brought along my path that day. I wondered whether or not I had missed a Godly family, or a christian college student God might have had in mind to befriend me that day. But, then God asked “Who were Jesus’ friends?”

And I smiled and had an “Ah-Ha!” moment.

Jesus spent time with the gentiles, the drunks, the beggar, the prostitutes, the outcasts and the rejected. Those ladies saw something in me and I pray they saw Christ and seeds were planted, not simply by the words I said (because I didn’t say very many) but simply because God gave me the opportunity to love them where they were at. Much like Jesus did and still does.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.  Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John 13: 34-35 (NLT)

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