Saturday, December 20, 2014

Back In Time

As some of you are aware, I have returned recently to social media.
I blog, have a page on Facebook, and will be podcasting soon.
I have found the experience so far to be fun but also a bit disturbing.

I guess that I was taken aback on Facebook by how old everyone is.
It is no small thing to ‘jump’ 30+ years into the future and see your friends with grown kids that also have kids of their own. I feel like one of those frozen astronauts that have been thawed out after years in space.
Of course one major exception to that sci-fi scenario is that, though I have aged too, it has been more gracefully.  

But, to stay with that time-elapsed theme for a moment: Why all the cat videos? Has the world gone insane while I was in cyber-sleep?

I suppose that had I started with everyone else that phenomenon would seem natural by now (meow) and would have affected me too (meow) but I think I’m okay since I haven’t been on social media but (meow) just a few weeks.

As you might have imagined being gone for so long and then suddenly appearing after all these years has surprised some of my old friends and acquaintances and they in turn have contacted me.

Just the other day I got a call from one of the teens that was in my youth department back in the early 80’s. This fellow whom I have not seen in 32 years called me up and we talked a bit about the ‘old days’.  

Now I have to tell you, as he talked I was scared. Back in those days when all this impressionable youth was under my spiritual care I had tons of zeal but little knowledge. I was out to save them and to save the rest of the world too. I have always wondered how badly I might have messed up those poor, unprotected, middle-class, white, American Christian teenagers. So, as he talked, I listened for clues for damage assessment. 

We talked for a while and as the conversation was wrapping up he made a statement that caused me to break out in a cold sweat. “Laurence,” he says, “I remember two things that you taught us that I have never forgotten.”

Oh no! I thought. I am so sorry, Lord! This kid, this now 40 Something, is going to share with me two ideals or two principles or two heretical statements that I impressed upon him with all the thermonuclear earnest I had back in those days!
He had gone to college, gotten married, worked for 30+ years, had children of his own, raised them to adulthood, his kids have had kids…how might I have screwed this all up?!

I was cringing as he continued, “You told us”

I listened in the fetal position…

“That if we guys shaved while in the shower, then when we got out, we were all done.”

Can you imagine how relieved I was?! Thank you Jesus! I almost started laughing and crying hysterically. 

“You also taught us…”

Oh no, right, there were two things…two things that he had always remembered. I had influenced his life, his family…they in turn have influenced others…what have I done…what have I done!

“…to never wear white socks with dress clothes.”


I came away from this encounter with a greater awareness of how we influence one another. Sometimes the intentional isn’t as strong as the peripheral but there is always some type of effect. No one ever leaves our care, our teaching, our friendships, our parenting exactly the same. And our influence, both intentional and peripheral, is a responsibility given us by our Lord and He wants us to always do well by others.

Still I am a little ticked that that was all he had ‘remembered’.
All that time? Seriously? Is that all he got out of those years of my giving all my heart and soul and…and life?  
But hey, maybe I have made the world a bit more beautiful. There is at least one guy out there wearing socks that match his slacks. Maybe he taught his boys that too and maybe they influenced others.
Come to think of it, I cannot remember the last time I saw anyone wearing white socks with dress clothes!

If only I would have also said something about cats on film

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