A CHANCE MEETING?

I try to avoid the mega home improvement store that I consider to be for amateurs as much as possible, but sometimes it’s just too convenient… This is especially true on the weekends when the professional supply yards and houses are closed, but us workaholics aren’t.

I heard someone faintly calling my name from behind me. I never rush to see who it is. The truth is I never know if the voice is going to be one that I have long since buried in the lost memories of my mind.

I heard the calling of my name more clearly the second or third time. It was a man… I turned slowly to see a familiar face.

“Hey, how are you doing?” The man asked as we shook hands, both of us with a vice like grip.

“I’m good! How are you?” I asked as I studied him and tried to place a name with his face.

“Good, good!” He smiled and nodded his head with animation.

We made small talk for a several minutes. During that time the man’s name eluded me. Still does. But as we talked it dawned on me which part of my life this well groomed and slightly greying man came from.

The man’s familiar eyes and smile had aged some since I’d seen him last. No doubt he saw the same in me.

“You look good, still in great shape. Good for you,” I said recalling the days in the gym that we both worked out at about twenty years ago.

If you spend enough time with a person you find out a lot about them, their quirks, idiosyncrasies, likes and dislikes.

The man returned the compliment, which may have been sincere or not, I wear long sleeved and baggy shirts so it’s difficult to say. But then he said something else that clued me in and reminded me how much time I did spend with the man a long time ago.

“Still got the cool tennis shoes going,” he checked mine out and chuckled.

“Of course. Some things never change!” I laughed too.

Yes they are cool… except for that smudge!!!

While no one would ever compare my dressing habits to the likes of Frank Sinatra, especially during the day, when it comes to shoes, including tennis shoes, I don’t compromise.

As soon as the man said that I could immediately see him in my mind as the kid he was in the gym. He was always a very respectful young man… one that I’d forgotten all about.

I’m not sure if I heard the Golden Rule first or Matthew 7:12 and or Luke 6:31. I’ve tried to treat folks in a decent way during my life, but know that I’ve come up short more than my fair share of the times.

The man I’d helped train and gave spots to in the gym decades earlier and I chatted for a few more minutes. We shook the vise like hand shake once more and he was off.

He stopped about twenty feet out and turned back.

“I just want to thank you for all you did for me… for helping me,” he nodded with a serious expression.

I smiled and nodded too, “You did good. Good job,” I told him.

“Thanks,” he nodded yet again and disappeared down flooring aisle.

I wish I could say that everybody that has crossed my path in life would have nothing but good things to say about me. Not for me or my pride, but as a tribute to the One I belong to.

It’s a fine thing to strive to be a bright spot in the lives of others, but we all fail. We let others down, it’s inevitable. They let us down too. It’s life. We all know it’s a fallen world after all.

“Father forgive us of our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us”.

It’s peculiar how the little things we do along the way can mean so much to others. That’s the gift that gives both ways, friends.

“… whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.” (NIV)