Friday, March 23, 2007

Carol

Yesterday I took a walk in the park behind our apartment. It's a nifty little park, little being the operative word. But it suits us nicely. A trail that circles around a playground offset by some benches, a couple trees, and a grassy knoll. It's been my sanity these past few months because currently, I have no job. There are many reasons why I have no job, but none are sad reasons and all are self inflicted reasons. I didn't get fired or anything. We came back from tour and I'm asking, what now?

Having nothing to do during the day but clean my apartment doesn't suit me and I get depressed easily. There are too many walls and too many thoughts in my head. If I have no errands to run then I take a walk. Most of my thoughts that lead to my walks have to do with God's will and if I'm in it. Or what it will be three months from now.

On my walks I have been seeing the same woman in my park that must live in the apartment building next to me. She comes out with her extremely old dog and sometimes it's the dog and her bright green parrot. Yes, a parrot on her shoulder. And sometimes there are kids around her that want to hear the bright green parrot talk, but mostly, she's alone, with her dog. Her name is Carol.

I didn't know her name for a while because I didn't want to stop to talk with her. Carol makes me uncomfortable. Mostly because she wants so much to talk to me. That makes me very uncomfortable. Carol has small yellowish brown teeth that are fixed crookedly inside her mouth, with great big eyes that stare. Carol is always wearing the same gray T-shirt that hangs over her short, worn, lumpy body. And she always says the same thing, for no apparent reason because Carol is not my friend. She says how March 30 will be the year annniversary of her husband's death. Her husband's name is Tim.

That brings us to yesterday. I was walking on the trail around the park and noticed Carol sitting alone on a bench while her old dog rolled in the grass. I had a choice. I stopped my walk and my thoughts to talk to her, or I ignored her. I chose the better of the two options, and that's when I found out her name was Carol. And that she also has three evil sisters that she says steals her money. That she can't work because she collects disability for a mental illness that involves anxiety. That her house with the memories of Tim sold recently at less than market value. And that when she used to work for a bank the security guard at the bank attacked her, and that's what caused her mental illness. I know more about Carol than I know about most of my friends, because Carol is lonely.

That's when she asked what I did for a living, and I told her that my husband and I were musicians. Do we have a CD, she asked. Well yeah we do, I said. Actually, you know I have one in my car. Let me just give it to you. She said that no, she really wanted to pay for it. I argued. She persisted. I said OK, ten bucks. I got the CD, she got her money. We met back at the bench. I gave her the CD, she gave me her money. I looked at the bill in my hand and as I did...thought Carol was the best thing that had happened to me all day. Instead of a ten dollar bill, the bill that sat in my hand said $1. I smiled at Carol, said thank you, and folded the bill in the palm of my hand.

I think that maybe one reason I don't have a job right now is to talk to Carol. I think that God's will for my life is to talk to Carol. And that maybe if I can't work and talk to Carol at the same time, I shouldn't be working.

16 comments:

Chaotic Hammer said...

That's where Jesus would be. I can't think of a better thing in the world than just being there for a lonely soul.

I've been guilty of making the wrong choice too many times in that situation.

"Lord, what do you mean I should stop and talk to that guy? Can't you see I'm on my way to church, with my nifty new Bible in my hand?"

I'm trying to be conscientious about these things, and really be a doer, rather than a hearer, when opportunities arise.

The Cachinnator said...

Well done, Fancy.

kddub said...

I picture Carol like the lady in the movie Duplex, with her parrot.

That's awesome that you choose to speak to her, I imagine it made her day. I agree with chaotic hammer, that that's where Jesus would be. Now your music can be ministering to her as well.

SandinaJ said...

I can SO relate to you on this one Fancy Pants. I do not currently have a job that I am paid for. My "job" is taking care of my son.

Isn't it funny how people work most of their lives so that they can retire, but then what? Not working isn't as easy as one would think. It is what you make of it. (Kel and Linds would tell you to take up knitting.)

I'm glad you take walks in the little park. I'm glad that Carol has someone to talk to now.

FancyPants said...

Hi kddub! Glad to be blogging you. Ya know, I've never seen Duplex. I should, though. Anything with Ben Stiller, directed by Danny DeVito's gotta be worth watching.

I always take a double take when I see Carol out there with her big ole parrot on her shoulder. I'm like, is that for real? But I heard it talk once. Oh it's real.

Eric said...

That's so amazing. Way to go Ambo!

FancyPants said...

It isn't getting any easier to talk to Carol.

I just think it's very interesting - how hard it is to do a simple thing, like talk to a lonely woman. And the reason it's hard is because she doesn't meet my definition of normal. She's outside of my comfort zone.

Susanne said...

I struggle with this too. I know I should be interacting more with people, especially since I'm not working now, but my kids and housework consume all of my time. I don't feel guilty about spending time with my kids, since that is my job right now, but I'm starting to feel convicted that maybe I could be doing more in the world around me. I need to start teaching my kids more about how to "be Jesus" to people. Good for you for talking to Carol! It sounds like she mostly needs a listening and understanding ear. And I'm sure she noticed Christ's light shining from you.

FancyPants said...

Susanne,

Sounds like you are working. Like Sandina said, your job is your kids. That's more self sacrificing than any work that I know of, except being a wife, maybe.

But the convictions about doing something in the world around you, I understand that. Realizing that you're not an island, that the world around you suffers. And that Christ's presence in that world is you and me. I have somewhat of an awareness that I think could be strengthened. The question is what am I doing about it?

Eric said...

I think it's the weird ones who are "the least of these." Maybe that's Jesus you're talking to.

FancyPants said...

Eric,

Couldn't agree more. Isn't it interesting that Jesus doesn't say "Do these things to the least of these and you'll be more like me." I mean, he could have said that and it would be a true statement. Jesus came for the poor and opressed, the sick and dying, the lost and broken. So we could try to do what Jesus did to be like him.

But he doesn't say that. Jesus says to the righteous, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

He said previously that the righteous had clothed him and fed him and visited him in prison. And they asked Lord, when did we do these things to you? That was his answer.

This is critical, I think, in our Christian life. It's not to be more like Christ. It's to do unto Christ. Huge difference.

Thoughts?

Eric said...

yeah, huge! I think its why he said it that way. The poor have always been at the top priority of God's list. He hated it in the Old Testament, now we see why. What ever you've done to them, you've done to Him. I can't even comprehend the mystery of this, but one thing it does is keep my heart soft - and in holy fear. At least it should do this. Incredible mystery!

Pendrax said...

As the old song says, "They'll know we are Christians by our love."

Maybe I'm old and fearful, but it seems to me that a word of caution might be in order here as well. The world is not a nice place, and it does little good to become a victim through carelessness.

Jesus told the disciples to be careful when he sent them out (Matt 10:16) and that they were "like sheep among the wolves" and should be "as shrewd as serpents."

Of course, he also said to be "as harmless as doves" and he didn't say not to go.

All in all, I'd say go, but carefully. Think sheep among wolves.

Sweet dreams... :-)

FancyPants said...

Pendrax,

True. Good word of caution, and definintely something that must be kept in mind here.

But who should we be cautious of? I'm thinking of the next part of the passage:

17"Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."

At the time, it was the Jewish leaders and their councils, the governors, kings, the Romans.

Jesus says Go heal the lepers and preach the good news. But be cautious because there will be those that want to stop you. Be cautious not of the lepers, but of the religious and political leaders.

Eric said...

This is Shannyn, Eric's wife. I just wanted to say that I love what you just said about the lepers and the leaders. Love it.

FancyPants said...

Hey Shan! I hope you keep blogging. Would love to have your input, and it's a fun way to keep in touch.