9 Feb 2011

February 9, 2011

Sometimes you’ll be sitting in the lobby of a building on campus when a Korean man will walk up to you. He’ll ask you what you’re reading, but you’ll already know what he’s up to because you’ll have seen him there every week. Always sitting with a different student. Always talking about how God is like the wind, closer than the wind actually, more real. So when he comes up to you, you’ll already know his game.

Sometimes the book you’re reading will be called “Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever” and you’ll hold it up for the man and read him the title, even though what you really want to be doing is reading the book.

And he’ll say: “The best is yet to come”

And you’ll think: “Clever.”

But you won’t say that. Sometimes you’ll just smile, nod, and quickly, before he can start the debate, before he can start trying to convince you of something you already believe, you’ll ask him where he’s from. You’ll ask him about his family. You’ll ask him about the north. But secretly, sometimes, you’ll be ashamed of him, ashamed that were he to find out what you believed, he would embrace you and the gap between you and him, that gap that you need, that gap that you’ve built your life on, would dissolve. And so, when you get up to leave and he asks you, Do you have faith, my brother? You will not exactly say yes. Or no. Sometimes, you’ll just shrug, you’ll concentrate on getting your laptop back in your bag, you’ll avoid eye contact, you’ll tip your hand side to side like a listing boat.

And then, before you can truly walk away, he will already be sliding a pamphlet in your hand. His eyes will be desperate, like he’s sending a son off to a losing war, and you’ll realize that he’s not the shameful one. So sometimes you will take the pamphlet, you’ll shake his hand, you’ll thank him. You’ll look him in the eyes and really, truly thank him.

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