…while sitting at Duffeyroll Cafe with my buddy Alan, who by the way is an avid atheist, Fr. John, my priest at St. Herman of Alaska, came in with a set of other priests and deacons. Alan and I had worked in various portions of psychiatric emergency and other facets of our common ilk. I’ve always been fascinated with our holding onto one another with each knowing the other’s foundation. He as an evangelical atheist has tried to convert me. My response feels out of fashion but, I still told him that I didn’t care with he burned in hell or finally ended up in heaven. My goal was then and still is to surely remain his friend.
Going over to Fr. John I gave him a nudge and an ungainly hug. By doing so I was more intent on quietly putting before Alan’s eyes my love of God. I know that his take was on my being nice to a fellow human. For my buddy, seeing my enjoyment in just going over in the midst of robbed men has always been troublesome. Almost without exception, Alan has made some Freudian-ish comment about guys in slips every time priests came up in our conversations. Yah, I giggled. Of course, I giggled. That kind of comment is too common among those of my kind. Think about going with me to deal with a hyperactive, hypersexual bipolar female running nude down the street during a snow storm. My kind’s giggles aren’t denial but rather a means of coping with things that are too common in these jobs.
Keeping with such an intent my goal in hugging Fr. John, without kneeling and kissing his hand or anything else, was to keep my buddy from flashing up his deflector shield to bounce off my religious hypocrisy. I wanted only to put before him my seriousness. Alan knows of my prolonged contemplation of becoming a monastic. He also knows of my 5-6 days a week practice of hour long hesychastic prayer. My quest with my buddy is only to keep him close. Does that feel like I have been making him more important to me than the Risen Christ? Does it feel like I’m ashamed of God?
By holding to him in this fashion, I am living out my prayer that my love of God eventually so saturates my life that he can smell the presence of the Spirit, taste my working out His love of us and feel God’s grip on him without a single word being uttered from my lips. Until then, I know that my progressively demented buddy will, through my fault, do little more than keep his door closed on God.