21 January 2011

The Uncertain Moment

A fellow who works out at the gym often the same time I do, but who is rather private and never seems interested in chat (I'm actually the same way:  there to work out and on a schedule; not to socialize) gave me pause.  Today after I finished up, showered, and was out in the lobby waiting for Cindi, I noticed when he came out because he stopped nearly beside me.  I was busy reading email, and glanced up to see him doing the same thing.  He ended up sitting down across from me and appeared to read and re-read his message.  I thought with a shock:  he looks like he's about to cry.  He heaved a sigh or two as though holding it in.  He never looked up.  I tried to make eye contact - I figure if he did, I'd ask if he were okay; it would be an invitation of sorts to speak of the sorrow.  But he never did.  Eyes averted, he finally he got up and slowly walked out of the Y. And I was so torn.  Is he the sort that would have hated that someone noticed?  That he was obvious in his grief over whatever news that message brought him?  Or would he have appreciated and been comforted that a stranger noticed and spoke to him about it?  Or was I having a flight of fancy and simply filling in details out of my own imagination? I didn't and I don't know.  I usually err on the side of privacy (that's my application of the old "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" - for I am, despite this blog, an intensely private person), but in reflection I think it was the wrong thing.  I'm going to ask him next time I see him how he's doing and mention that I wanted to ask him last time, but also wanted to respect his privacy.


Sch├╝tz said...

Be brave, Pastor Bill. Don't be afraid to act on your impulses. You might come out looking silly, but on the other hand, you might be following the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

Mind you, I'm not always brave either. I was travelling home from work on Christmas Eve last year, and saw all the tired and sad looking people on the train, and wondered to myself: "I wonder what would happen if I just started singing Silent Night?"

I didn't, of course. But a part of me wishes I did.

Jeremy Loesch said...

I hope you see this gentleman again. It has happened to me more often than I care to admit, where someone, my spouse, a fellow pastor, a member has inquired about things.

It was obvious to them that something was out of sorts, they asked, and it was good to talk and listen.

Blessings in this.

Anonymous said...

I think this is an encouraging post. It's nice to read theology on a blog, it's even better to see it in action. :)

Anonymous said...

Were you wearing your collar?

I worked last night at a reception hall where two churches were holding functions. One to celebrate a church anniversary and one to give thanks for their pastor's service. Of ALL the guests, only one invited me to church. Nobody said a word to me about God. I was kind of surprised because they both came from high-pressure evangelism traditions - I could tell from the speeches and prayers I overheard. I wondered if any of these folks would try to witness to me, but none did.

If you have your collar on, I would think it is entirely appropriate, even expected, that you would be bold in offering comfort.

Just my thoughts.

William Weedon said...


Alas I did not. It was on my day off and that's the day I usually am NOT wearing my clerics.

Becky said...

I haven't been on my computer for a few days and just read this one. Have you seen him again yet? I'm with the others. There's always a chance that he'll feel more comfortable talking to someone who doesn't "have a stake" in whatever is going on.