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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Our Father's Call

One morning I was rushing to and fro caught up in what I had to get done, I was pumping gas, building up a head of determined steam when I heard a voice. “Excuse me, Sir. Would you like to read a copy of the Watchtower?” I turned my head and there stood a boy of about eight holding out a couple of thin magazines.

 He was clean-cut, hair slicked down with a blue oxford shirt sporting a yellow and blue striped, clip-on tie. His too big shirt framed his skinny neck. He appeared freshly scrubbed with light brown eyes. He was reaching up to me … hesitant, shy, and maybe even a little afraid of the weathered older man with the furrowed brow and deep voice. All I had to offer him was my knee jerk reaction to anyone “pushing” religion at me.”I’m good son. No thanks.’ I barked, as I turned back to the pump. Out of the corner of my eye I could see him walk away.

As a lifetime of sometimes small and sometimes not so small cruelties flooded into my heart I realized that I was ashamed. I stopped pumping gas, turned and stomped over to the mini-van where he had retreated. The van was full of folks of all ages, black and white, male and female. I spotted the small boy settling there in the back. Now it was my turn to feel a little shy, maybe even a little afraid. “I changed my mind,” I growled and again he reached out with the pamphlets and magazines, smiling that angelic grin that he had originally produced. As I turned there was an audible “awww” from the women.

Religious intolerance at the very least is an ugly beast. At its worst it robs us of our humanity. The greatest shame about that is our loss of the Father’s call. I can only hope and pray that each day as we all walk through our trials and tribulations we can be willing to meet the outreached hand of God as he speaks to us. I failed to get your name, my little friend. I failed to shake your hand. I hope you know somehow the power of your touch. I hope that you can receive the Father’s call as you so willingly gave it to me.

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