Monday, April 29, 2013

He taught me to love doctrine and I taught him to skip class.

Fair trade, yeah?

In celebration of one of my favorite people being in Portland for a business trip this week,
a repost from 2011...

a glimpse into why I am thankful for my friendship with Chet.

In Powell's tonight, looking at an edition of Augustine's Confessions
and muttering "Unbelievable" at me under his breath for feeling a need to take a picture right then.


Vignette #1:

It is 6:25 A.M. My phone beeps. I roll over and squint at it. A text. From Chet.
"Are you up?"
"Really or like you'll be here in 20 minutes up?"
"I'm out of bed. I'm getting dressed."

I'm lying. But he knows that. So fifteen minutes later, when I run into the breakfast restaurant in downtown Wheaton we meet at every other week or so, apologizing and still throwing my hair up in a ponytail, he just smiles and sips his coffee and glances up from his paper. "I just got here. I knew you weren't up."

I order the same thing I always get and he rolls his eyes and tells me I'm unbelievable for eating so much sugar so early in the morning just like he always does. And we drink our coffee and eat our breakfast and talk theology, or what we'll do at work today, or our roommates, or what we're praying through regarding church or grad school plans, or the weather. And then whoever's turn it is pays the bill, and we head off for our respective jobs.

And it is comfortable and just right.
(And I start work way happier and more caffeinated than I ever do otherwise.)

Vignette #2:

It is Valentine's Day and I ask him to go on a run. He kindly agrees, and then spends five miles listening to me freak out about a guy. I repeatedly ask him what he thinks and then immediately act shocked and tell him all the reasons he's COMPLETELY wrong when he attempts to give me some, you know, male perspective.

Then I slip on the ice, and this happens:
Me: $@*#!!!! Don't judge me for cursing!! OW, ^&%*@!!! Don't judge me!!!
Chet: Omigosh, are you okay???
Me: NO! %#&@*!!!!!! OWWW!!!! Chet, do NOT judge me for cursing- oh, OW!
Chet: Will you stop saying that?!! I'm not judging you, I'm wondering if I should take you to the hospital! Geez!

This is, for the record, exactly how every attractive, financially independent, single, spiritually mature 22-year-old man hopes to spend his Valentine's Day evening.

Vignette #3:

It is last August and I am sitting alone at Caribou Coffee, staring at a book that was recommended to me on trusting God in the face of suffering. 100 pages in and I am calmly, desperately, considering throwing it across the coffee shop (not exaggerating).

I call him. "Hey. Can you meet me at Caribou right now?"

He comes without further explanation needed. And my most doctrine-loving, sovereignty-of-God-trusting friend, sits silently across from me as I choke out through tears how ridiculous I find every argument this author makes. How hollow words that would have brought me comfort a year ago seem now. How I feel we are speaking different languages and his response and this Scripture verse and that logical conclusion do not speak to my girls, do not speak to what they went through... and I am crying and I am angry and I am so, so scared. And I ask this friend, this most doctrine-loving, sovereignty-of-God-trusting friend, what I am supposed to do with that.

And he does not judge. And he does not attempt to give answers. And he does not minimize, in any way, what my girls went through. Or where I am now.

He sits silently with me. And then he reads me 2 Corinthians 4. And then he sits silently longer while I cry. And he does not try to explain it, because this doctrine-loving, sovereignty-of-God-trusting friend finally tells me that he thinks God is sovereign, but that all we can and should do before certain types of suffering is be silent.

And right then I can't trust God, but I can trust him. And so that makes doctrine and the sovereignty of God seem just a tiny bit more believable.

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Human Needs Global Resources Covenant, 2009

As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.