Remember George and Steve?
I’m just mystified by him. Isn’t it fascinating how there can be people in the world who don’t really fit into ANY preconceived categories?
I mean, he’s nice and polite, and talks Christian lingo when convenient. He’s always hungry, requesting ice cream and chips and Gatorade on a regular basis. He’s street smart and Bible smart, and one day he was talking about taking good care of his body. When I asked him about the smoking I saw out the window a while ago, he said, “What, me?!”
Last Saturday night it was getting dark when our friend Christopher came by hunting mushrooms. Marnell was out sweeping the walk, so he chatted with Christopher, who lamented that our lawn had just been mowed, lopping off most of the mushrooms.
About this time, George walked up, and Marnell said, “There’s the guy that mowed off your mushrooms!”
Christopher moved on, and Marnell invited George to church. George asked for Gatorade, which he already had asked for earlier that day. I had given him ice cream, but said no Gatorade.
Marnell came in, saying that George wanted Gatorade. I sighed and motioned for him to shut the door, explaining that I had already said no. However, I relented, although I reminded him that I can’t give him Gatorade every day.
He wondered what we were having for lunch at church the next day.
“Do you know what sloppy joes are?” I asked.
“I’m coming!” he said.
We told him to be at our house by 9.
In the meantime, another neighbor and her mom said they were coming to church. I wasn’t at all sure that they would be compatible with George, but hey, God moves in mysterious ways.
Well, 9am came and our other neighbor and her mom came, but no George.
We left for church, ate sloppy joes afterwards, and arrived home around 1:30. There, at our porch, stood George and two buddies, drinking from aluminum pop cans. Of course, he was waiting on the curb, ready to spring on me as soon as I got out of the car. I never could have anticipated his question though.
“Is it time to go to church?” he asked.
I was stunned for a moment.
“You know it’s not time to go to church,” I said. “We’re just getting home. We told you what time church starts.”
“What, isn’t it 9 o’clock?” he asked.
He looked at his buddies for support.
“Wasn’t it just 9 o’clock when we walked over here?”
“George.” I said with finality. “Do you want us to think you’re dumb?”
“No,” he said.
“You’re a smart boy,” I said. “We know you can keep track of time.”
Yes, I kind of lost my composure. I was just so shocked that he would care so much about appearances that he would try to convince us, four and a half hours after the time, that he thought he was right no schedule. I don’t mind if people say the truth—I slept in, or I just didn’t want to come to church. But making up…? Sigh…
“Do you have any ice cream?” he asked next.
“Not now,” I said. “We’re having ice cream later tonight and you can have some.”
“Well we were wondering if we could each get a dollar because we want to buy Arizona’s.”
“You’re drinking something right now!” I exclaimed.
“These aren’t good.”
“Not today,” Marnell said.
Later, I thought, maybe I was a little hard on him? But we were hosting our small group from church, and I got busy with that.
Our friend Christopher had come over to join us for burgers. We were outside under the very tiny pavilion behind our house, scrunched close together on lawn chairs. Christopher had just said, “I was adopted as a baby,” and was elaborating on that when George appeared at the edge of the ring of chairs.
He wanted to know what was going on, and what the others had in their cups.
We had just run ourselves completely out of homemade ice cream and strawberries, so I felt a little bad because we HAD told him he could come by later for ice cream. (Oh, and by the way, I ran out of fries too. And the homemade ice cream that we perfected last year refused to get hard. It wasn’t a shining moment as a hostess.)
But I told him I could get him an ice cream bar, and he sat on the porch steps while I ran and grabbed one out of the freezer.
Dear me. That’s all I can say. Lord, give us the grace and wisdom to deal with the things we never thought would happen.
And, maybe–maybe–George will be hungry, some day, for more than just ice cream. And maybe he won’t. And either way, we will need wisdom to know when to say no, when to confront, when to appease.
Lord, show us where you are working, and where you want us to join You in that work!