Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Friend and The Nearby Church

I have a friend who is amazing.  She's poised and collected.  She always says the right thing AND does the right thing.  She's sweet and kind.  She'd make the perfect Disney princess and I've always wished I could be a bit more like her.

I'm not collected though.  I try to act poised and instead fumble while cracking jokes.  I laugh really loud and then talk about crazy things.  My friend would never talk about woman balls, or fart, not like I do.  When she was school president and homecoming queen, she won because everyone knew they could count on her to be amazing.  Was I homecoming queen?  No . . .  I didn't even try; I was too busy hiking and dying my hair with kool aid.

So, needless to say, my friend isn't like me.  I've tried to have more things in common with her.  This doesn't all stem from the fact that I really look up to her, it's that I wish we were better friends.  I want to hang out with her, be friends like in those black and white movies.  That would be neat.  We could sit in our civil war gowns and talk over tea.  We'd reminisce about some book we read and some quilt we'd just finished.  I'd laugh about her beau and she'd giggle about mine.  That's how things would have been if I was born years ago and my friend and I had more in common.  But I was born in the 80's and some things just aren't meant to be.

Anyway, I decided to go visit her yesterday.  I straightened my hair, put on some nice clothes and told myself I wouldn't say anything crass.  I'd be sweet and reserved.  I'd be the kid-sister I bet she always wanted, but when I got to her house, my plan failed miserably because she wasn't home.

I called her.  "Where are you?" I asked kindly.

"At the copy store.  I'm so sorry.  I didn't know you were coming."

"That's because it was a surprise," I said.  Twas a shame.  I told myself I'd come back later.  I had to, or I'd done my hair for nothing!  I hung up the phone and that's when The Zombie Elf told me he had to pee.

"Not now, sweetie," I crooned.

"Yes, mama! Yes, now.  I pee at Auntie's house."

"She's not home."

"I pee car?"

"NO!"  I stepped on the gas and squealed from the driveway.

"I pee.  I pee."

"No," I sang, "you don't."

"I pee road?  I pee car."

"Not on the road.  Not in the car.  I do not like pee near or far."

"Not in the house.  Not with a mouse?"

"Not in a house, or with a mouse, I do not like . . ."

So, that's not exactly how the conversation went, but it was pretty damn close.

 I swerved around a corner.  We waited at a T in the road.  "I pee road."

"NO!"

"Oh, I pee car!"  Glee filled his boyish eyes.  He smiled at me like he knew he'd won.

I nearly cried as I looked to the left.  I swore that my perfect friend was driving closer!  If I didn't act fast, she'd see me.  The Zombie Elf would be covered in pee and I'd say some stupid joke.  She wouldn't want to talk to me for a year . . .  I stepped on the gas and turned right.  Sure it wasn't a smart decision, but it saved me from heartache!

I sped down the road.

"I pee!"

"You won't."

"I pee road."

I looked everywhere.  There was no place for him to go.  His face turned red in the backseat.  He pulsed with frustration.  "Ahhh!" I screamed.  "There's nowhere . . . to . . . stop."

A light shone from the heaven's, I swear it did because suddenly, I saw a church on my left.  Sure we couldn't stop near someone's house, but my boy could have privacy in the empty parking lot.  I turned in.  The Zombie Elf looked like he was about to explode.  I parked, threw the door open.  We looked from side to side.  The only person around was some lawn maintenance guy on the other side of the church.

"Pee," I told The Elf.

"I can't."  He pointed to the church as if he knew I was making him commit a crime.

"Pee!"

"No."

"Pee!"

"No."

"I'll give you some gum."

He smiled and that's when the golden stream flew.  Too bad it happened right as the lawn maintenance guy decided to come convert us.  I put The Zombie Elf back in his seat and we barely avoided a bad thing.

The man came up to me.  "Are you a member?"

"Me?  No.  We've never seen . . . this place in our lives."

"Ummm . . .  You may not have seen this place, but God, He's been watching you."

What in the heck was that line?  Was the lawn guy moonlighting as a priest?  Was I supposed to confess to him?  I shirked back.  I'd committed a sin.  The guy walked closer, almost stepping on the watered grass.

"You know what I'm telling you?  God, He's been watching you."

"That's great."  He was getting closer to the pee spot.

"I like . . . God.  I can tell you do to?" I asked.

"You're acting awfully strange.  I think there's a reason God brought you here.  Is there something you'd like to share?"

"Well."  I stared at the guy.  "Do you have any background with this sort of thing.  Are you a pastor or a bishop or something?"

"God can use anyone.  His tools are many and His lessons are . . . many."  He smiled.  "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive."

I thought about the wet grass he'd just stepped in.  I'd made my son pee on church property.  I gazed into that man's eyes.  I sent him a mental message, you're stepping in pee.  He tilted his head, obviously not getting the message. Maybe he wasn't as close to God as he professed!

"I've bought a ticket to Hell."

"And Jesus has ransomed that ticket."

"He ransomed something He knew I would buy?"

"He knows everything."

"So you're one of those Calvinistic people?"

"What?"

"You believe in predestination, that God made some of us even knowing we would fail."

He nodded.  "Well, yes.  I guess."

"That's messed up."

"Wait . . . what?  Well, He knows everything."

"Even if we're going to fail?"

"Yes."

"So, you think He sets some of us up to fail."

"Yes . . . ummm . . . no."

"He created us, knowing if we'd eventually go to Hell, but He made us anyway?"

"Yes."

"So you think He set us up to fail?"

"I guess . . . no.  Wait, I'm confused.  Where is this going?  I just wanted you to become a member!"

The poor man's shoulder's slumped.  He trudged back to his mower .  I'd snuffed his happiness and he'd stepped in pee.  Before I left, I drove past and yelled, "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I just hope you'll find peace."  He looked at me like I was a wacko.

"I will.  Don't underestimate free will," I said.

He nodded, that man who mowed the lawn diagonally and probably refused to make perpendicular lines.  I could tell he was formulating something profound, so I waited.  He talked then.  "Sometimes we're destined to chose, but we still control our own destinies.  Free will is more powerful than destiny?"  Was he actually asking me a question--as if I knew?  Hadn't he claimed to have all the knowledge before?

I smiled.  "That's what I believe.  We all have the gift of choice.  If it wasn't really choosing . . . then well . . . there wouldn't be a point." I smiled and waved goodbye.

So, sometimes things work in strange ways.  We can choose to make things different.  We can choose to pee on lawns.  We can choose to be cowardly Calvinists who never had a choice to begin with.  Either way, I decided I won't sit back.  Sometimes kids have to pee at the right time.  I think I was meant to talk to that man.  He made me realize that we choose who we are and how our relationships will be.  He made me realize that even though I'm not just like my friend--who's actually my sister and I was just too much of a pansy to admit it until now--we can still be buds.  It's all in our choices.  Some things are worth the choice.  Some things are worth the fight.