Sunday, April 10, 2005
This is a story I have been telling as comedy, but...
This is a story I have been telling as comedy, but I think it is more tragedy, or maybe mystery. I told it as comedy because I didn't want to think it through. Here's what happened.
I was walking down 4th street on Thursday morning, praying. I don't usually pray as I walk, but I think I was moved to do so on this particular morning. I prayed for my family, our community, this neighborhood, that guy in the Buick, this house, that woman walking away from me, etc. It felt like the right thing to be doing. Then a man waiting at a red light made an obscene gesture toward me with his mouth. I checked to see if I knew him; I didn't. I kept walking. He proceeded to turn in to where I was walking and offer me a sexual favor. I kindly declined, and kept walking. This is another thing that doesn't happen to me every day. It was fairly disconcerting.
I often ruminate about poignant interactions for some time after the event. On this day, I regretted that I did not check on this man. I don't know what I would have said. To hear a price list would have at least satisfied my curiosity. I also would have been interested to know what about me made him think that I was in the market.
Only after a couple of days of living with this story did I realize that I had been distracted from praying. I am not sure why this is important. I do think I needed to pray that morning, but I don't know why. And I don' t know how bad it is to stop praying as a result of an interaction with one of God's children. I don't know if the prayer ended when I became distracted. I am not sure what role discipline plays in praying. The story becomes more mysterious when I think that this man may have been sent too.