Saturday, April 24, 2010

Loved By the Mother of a Bar Room Bouncer

“I’m a bouncer for a bar.” I told the little lady in the hospital waiting room.

It had been a funny, lively conversation… spicier than I usually get from grandparently women. I was with a friend whose mother was having surgery. I had teasingly told them that after all we’d talked about, they’d be surprised to find out what I did for a living.

When they asked. I told them I was a bouncer.

Ain’t I a scamp?

Then I ‘fessed up’ and told them I was a minister. They noted my western boots, jeans, scruffy beard, and tall stature (not to mention my girth).

“You look more like a bouncer than a minister they said.”

“I know. However SHE’S the real bouncer,” I said as I pointed to the lady I was sitting with. She’s no bigger than a minute but she really runs a backwoods saloon and has been known to fire a shotgun in the air to gain the attention of some rowdies.

We laughed some more and one of the ladies said, “I’m going to have to start going to church again.”

The woman who was having surgery had asked me to come see her. I was no longer her minister but we were still friends. It had been a while since I had seen her but the two hugs she gave me before she went into surgery felt very familiar as they soaked into me.

She may have needed to see me, but I also needed to see her.

“I love your mom,” I later told the sometimes gun-toting daughter.

“I know,” she said. “She loves you, too.”

I nodded, not wanting show the emotion that was threatening to come out. I knew she loved me.

The fact is, I have been popular enough in most of my churches. I can charm most people in most waiting rooms.

But being loved by someone is pretty dadgum special.

My friend in the hospital has no money or influence. A few people have told me that I’m a saint for putting up with her because she can be flighty and even irrational.

But I’ll happily drive across the state to see her for a few minutes simply because she asks it of me. And she would do the same for me for the same reason I’d do it for her. She loves me.

In my profession we talk a lot about love. It’s the basis for the good we’re supposed to do. But the truth is that I don’t feel it, I don’t receive it, and I don’t give it nearly enough. But when I encounter it, I treasure it.

Oh, and she came through the surgery just fine.

5 comments:

  1. Ya know, talking about loving and being able to love are indeed 2 different things. How lucky you both are to have that. True friends are rare and to be cherished. It sounds like you both know it.

    On another note, maybe bouncer could be an alternate career path? Hey...there could be life after the ministry! ~K

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  2. Miracle Max: "Sonny, true love is the greatest thing, in the world-except for a nice MLT - mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe"
    [smacks his lips]
    Miracle Max: "they're so perky, I love that."

    It is wondrous thing to love and be loved.

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  3. K--I've actually thought plenty of times about going to the bars to do my work there--sort of think that's where Jesus would be. But my churches always hate the idea--they don't want me to see where they go on Saturday nights.

    Mike--MLT, what more could anyone ask? And where is that line from? It's familiar, but only just.

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  4. CG, I love you. You are my online pastor. Well, as much as you can be for a lil' old atheist as myself...

    ...so if I say I need you will you come to NY? Cuz I'm sure I need you for my Mexican Fiesta Party in May...

    I could use a bouncer for that party. I promise not to tell you when I put tequila in your virgin Mary-garitas...

    That strip club could still use that chaplain/bouncer...

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