I’m in the church at 8:30 on a Wednesday night, waiting for the kids to finish their youth program. It is not uncommon for the wait to turn into an inconvenience but this night it turned into a blessing. I just spent the last hour talking to a friend who wandered past my table, tucked back in a corner. He found me quite by accident but quickly took a seat and shared in open, heart-warming conversation.
I had intended to set up shop, listen to the Christmas music piped over the Town Hall sound system and type the first chapter of my new book, “Drinking Yesterday’s Coffee: 101 Ways To Save Your Budget and the World”. While I did not get any of the chapter written, I did learn a little about my friend and myself.
The conversation was lively and spirited. We talked about life. We talked about love. Our discussion covered finances, employment, church, ministry (not to be confused with church), marriage, television, computers, and so many other topics. It was one of the most enjoyable evenings I’ve spent in quite a while.
As the conversation floated from topic to topic, one theme prevailed: Rumor.
For instance, I asked about his job (rumor has it he was fired after embezzling $1,000,000 from petty cash at the Children’s Zoo). Apparently, this is not true but he did offer to buy me coffee…Coincidence? I think not.
I told him I’d heard his girlfriend was pregnant, again. Again, not true.
I heard through the grapevine that he is now a staff member at the church working in the coffee shop cleaning used grounds. He recently joined the dance ministry. He flipped-off one of the pastors after an unfortunate baptism fiasco. And decided to become gay after watching a Will and Grace marathon on TBS. He denied three of the four rumors.
Rumor. It can change a perception. It can twist the truth. It can destroy a life. Just a word, a nod, a wink.
My friend’s girlfriend isn’t pregnant. He isn’t gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that). He didn’t flip off the preacher. But if I tell you these things or hint at them, doesn’t it make you wonder? You want to know his name, don’t you? You want to get a good look at him the next time he passes by. You want to see the circus that is his life…and then you’ll tell your friends in whispered tones. After all, we’re only human.
Psalm 35:19-22: Let not my enemies wrongfully rejoice over me; or let them wink with the eye that hates me without cause. For they do not speak peace; Instead, they devise deceitful words against those that are quiet in the land. Yes, they opened their mouth wide against me; They said, Aha, aha, our eye has seen it. But, in truth, YOU have seen it, O God and you know the truth; do not keep silent: O Lord, and be close to me.