Two Sides

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I had an interesting experience in the sauna today.

We have family in town, but RJ labeled today Free Day. We could all do whatever we wanted regardless of what other family members were doing. I choose to leave the baby with his grandparents and hit the pool at the gym. After an invigorating swim nothing sounded better than sweating in the sauna. The sauna at the Y is an interesting place. It's next to the pool, you can see into it from the pool deck, and it's co-ed. I don't know about the other married ladies out there, but ever since "I Do" I've felt a bit uncomfortable with other men. I am completely cool with family and friends, but I get really awkward with strangers. I used to be able to hold a conversation with a guy in the grocery store or at the gym, no problem; but now I get super bashful and self-conscious. It just doesn't seem right. (At some point I should blog about my socially awkward encounters with the single dad at swimming lessons.) Anyway, I wanted to get into the sauna but there were two guys in there conversing it up. I waited for awhile but being on the baby schedule (good ol' nursing) I finally had to give into the unfortunate circumstances and get in with the two chatty Charlies. I sat in the far corner, huddled up, with my eyes closed praying they wouldn't talk to me. It worked. Instead i heard myself an earful. 

Guy number 1 was complaining to guy number 2 about the economy and lack of work. For the past ten years Number 1 had been working in landscape maintenance but was recently let go. Frustrated with his situation and nervous for the future (poor guy) he laid out his sorrows for Number 2. Number 2 started asking questions about janitorial/handyman work and landscape maintenance. Soon, one thing led to another, and they were having a serious conversation about immigration. Guy Number 1 had lost his work to illegal immigrants willing to work for much less. Guy Number 2 was pretty worked up about it. 

Exit Guys 1 & 2. Both needed to cool off in the pool. 

Just as I'm opening my eyes - enter Guy 3. I've met Guy 3 before. I was once forced to share a lane with him in the pool (10x more awkward than sharing a sauna.) He's a really nice person. Late 30s. A father. Hispanic. Loves to talk. 

We said Hi to one another and then I made the friendly mistake of asking him if he had a nice Thanksgiving. With permission granted, his mouth opened up and he was off. I'm not sure he ever came up for air.  Guy 3 did have a nice Thanksgiving. He spent time with his 19 year old son. Guy 3's son was born when he was only 18 years old; the boy's mother was 15. Guy 3 was born in Mexico, but his best friend and him jumped the border into Texas when they were 13. A chubby 13 year old Guy 3 grew up, and slimmed down, quick during the difficult months in Texas. He returned to Mexico to get more education.  Finished high school and welcomed his firstborn into the world. At the age of 22 he was given sole custody of his son. Wanting a better life for his boy he returned to the US. Guy 3 would like to go back to Mexico to see his family. But, his mother died 3 years ago and he doesn't know if he can face his childhood home without her. He misses her terribly. He was last in Mexico when his beloved nephew was 10. That was 9 years ago. Last year his nephew was kidnapped by the equivalent of the Mexican Mafia; they killed him.  Guy 3 is so thankful he removed his son from those types of situations. 

I would have loved to have heard even more of Guy 3's story but I was seriously dying of heat stroke. This isn't a political blog. But, it is important to remember that there are two sides to every situation. I am praying for them both: Guy 1 and Guy 3. God doesn't care which side of the fence you fall on; He cares about each story individually.


Chelsea K. said...

Thank you so much for having an open mind and seeing the bigger picture!

Anonymous said...

What great timing hearing about guy 1 and guy 3 back to back. I love how God works those circumtances in our lifes and causes us to think. thanks for sharing. love mom

Dallas said...

I have some funny comments that I won't post here... but we'll just leave all those for a phone conversation. HaHa!

Seriously, though, this is good... It is interesting to think that when we relate with individuals and move past stereotypes, we can enter into real, deep relationships and heal social wounds.

Jesus gives us amazing examples of moving past social boundaries or stereotypes and into REAL communication with broken and hurting people. (ie: the Samaritan woman, Zacchaeus the tax collector, etc.)

Great thoughts!

Two Cent Sparrow.
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