My Meetup With Jesus

One Day in the Park

I’m just like most other human beings.

Never have I felt superior or inferior to anyone. I was born; lived a crappy life—more or less—until I reached the age of fifty-five. One day, I’m going to die. That’s not much different than those I’ve bumped into during my seventy-eight years.

Well, I really must be honest with you. Throughout the years, I’ve known that my intellect was high enough to get me most of what I wanted. But I was never lucky enough to get what I felt I deserved.

Over time, I have belonged to this church and that, but it was always their doctrine which I had trouble accepting. Whenever a preacher, minister or priest stated that such was so—or not so—I’d ask how he knew that.  He would answer, “It’s a well-known concept that was given by God.” My response was always, “Oh, yeah! How do you know that?” When he couldn’t back up his doctrine in the Bible, he’d say, “You do have to accept some things on faith.”

You see, it became a vicious circle. So, I moved on. One day, I had this overwhelming feeling that, if I were ever to meet God face-to-face, I’d probably ask Him directly.

I decided that He and I would have a man-to-God talk. You know, kinda get it out in the open. Our meetup wouldn’t be just any little chat, though. I picked out a place and a time where we could discuss our differences. It was at a mahogany picnic table in a warm, peaceful part of a park.

It wasn’t just any old park. This one had large shade trees, thousands of colorful flowers growing anywhere they wanted. A tiny stream sparkled in the sunlight, while birds sang and deer wandering about.

This had to be a park like no other. No noisy kids or crazy people to interrupt us, without ants or other creepy-crawlers. It had to be just right. I was meeting up with Jesus and I figured He’d like it to be clean and quiet. I knew He could snap His fingers and make it all right, but this was my idea and I wanted to make a great first impression.

Everything was set. I dressed in my best sweats and a clean, pastel-blue T-shirt. Within a few seconds, I was sitting on the bench at one end of the picnic table. I even took two plastic cups, filled with ice water.

The day I was born

I didn’t know how long I’d have to wait. My eyes were closed as I recalled those exciting moments just before I was born.

I was about to make my grand entrance when I distinctly remember three guys all dressed in white togas, standing nearby. One of them told me quite clearly, “Fasten your seatbelt. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

As I began to follow their instructions, I was thinking about pointing my fingers at them shouting, “Toga! Toga!” Before I had a chance to say it, I heard one of the men say, “Open the pod bay doors, please.”

And, just like that, I felt a rush of cold, cold air and lots of clanking sounds. I heard my mom give a loud sigh of relief as a nurse placed me on a scale. Hearing my mom momentary joy, she glanced up at my nurse and said, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Reading my mind, mom quickly glanced at the nurse. With a big smile on her face, she said, “Wait a minute, wait a minute. You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!”

 As the nurse handed me back, mom exclaimed, “My precious.”

When the doc was done, he told mom that he’d be back to check on her later. Looking down at me and patting my tiny head, doc said, a bit too cute for me, “Hasta la vista, baby!”

I cuddled up to mom for a couple of minutes. Then, the nurse had to move her into another room. In doing so, she laid me in a bassinet off to the side. I mouthed the words, but nothing came out. “Nobody puts Baby in a corner!”

Nursey must have been psychic because she responded, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

“A boy’s best friend is his mother,” I screamed as they wheeled mom out into the hallway.

Feeling sorry for myself, I decided to cry. Then, just like that, someone picked me up. I learned a valuable lesson that day; if you cry, you get what you want! How awesome is that? Before I had a chance to try out a few more commands, I found myself attached to a breast.

As warm something trickled down my throat, I realized what my cries had gotten for me. It wasn’t long before I was pulled away from my lunch counter and that empty feeling returned. I figured I’d use my new trick to get what I wanted once more. I was about to let out a scream when mom seated me at another lunch counter, just like the first.

“Ah,” I drooled, “The is the stuff that dreams are made of.”

Old Memories

Now, I reflected on what I considered to have been a rough childhood. It was only from my perspective, though. Naturally, I had nothing to compare it to, so what would I have known. It was a rough trip so, at the time, Jesus and I didn’t get along too well back in the day. I kept thinking that I wasn’t wanted, so I hollered at God, “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!”

And, just as I expected, He didn’t answer. Probably solving more important problems on the other side of the universe. I moped around depressing. It was especially severe after discovering there was no God. One cold night in the middle of winter, I was startled awake by a sound near my bed. I couldn’t see anyone, but I heard a voice as clear as a bell, “Snap out of it!”

That was it. Nothing more, nothing less.

One day, as I BS’d with my best friend, he suggested that I just bide my time and get out when I could. My old man used to love boxing and forced me to learn to defend myself. I began lifting weights, thinking that, sooner than later, I’d get even. My time came one Saturday afternoon when I stood up to him. I was, “mad as hell, and wasn’t going to take it anymore!”

Without skipping a beat, he retorted, “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Just tell me the truth about what’s going on and I’ll straighten you out.”

“Oh, yeah,” I shouted back at him. “You can’t handle the truth!”

He thought he was pretty damn clever as he tried to teach me all he knew about beating up people. Well, let me tell you, I remembered everything. That afternoon, he hit me over my right eye and, as he drew back his hand to protect his face, I saw my chance—his ribs.

I squeezed the glove in my right hand as hard as I could and, driving from my shoulder (just as he taught), I hit him as hard as a sixteen-year-old could. Words of satisfaction fell out of my mouth, “Say hello to my little friend!”

Not long after that, I finished school. Within two weeks, I left home. Leaving had been eating away at me for a long time and I was finally free. I jumped in my car and, headed toward a girlfriend’s house. My foot pressed hard on the accelerator pedal, just as, “I felt the need—the need for speed!”

Surprised to see me, my girl smiled and said, “Hello, gorgeous.” But, her greeting melted in the June sun with her query about what I was doing and where I was going. I told her that, all my life, I’d heard a resounding echo everywhere I went. I asked if she’d ever heard the expression, “West! Go West, young man!” She said she had. Then, she wanted to know about our relationship. I reminded her, “We’ll always have Clinton.”

“How will you live,” she asked.

“I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers,” I replied.

“Will I ever see you again?”

“Ah’ll be bock,” I said. “For now, I want to be alone.” With that, I gave her a big hug and hit the road.

I suppose one may think I’ve been overlay loquacious in my dialogue but, hey, what else does one do when one is far too early for an appointment? Anyway, all these memories ran through my mind in less than three minutes. I sat and waited for the Lord.

Suddenly, I felt someone behind me. The hair on the back of my neck stood erect. I said, “Is it you. Really you?”

He walked around and sat facing me on the opposite side of my beautiful table He said, “I’m the king of the world!”

Even though this was our one-hundred and sixty-second meetup, I was still amazed at how small I felt. I began with, “I really need your help. There are things going on that I have trouble dealing with right now.”

“Tell me, Bobby,” He began. “Do you still remember that winter night when I sent a lovely angel to see you?”

“Yes,” I said. He knew He was the only one who could get away with calling me Bobby.

“And, what did that angel say, besides telling you to get over it?”

“She said, ‘If you build it, He will come.’”

“That’s exactly right. So, here I am. Go ahead, make my day.”

“Well, you see, I’ve got this really good friend who’s putting a lot of pressure on me to invest in some penny stocks. He says we can really clean up, but I have a feeling the whole thing’s a fraud. That’s just the beginning of my problems. Ya know what I mean?”

“Of course, I do. But, you need not worry. I’ve already looked into it. I knew you’d ask me about that. You see, greed, for lack of a better word, is good. The problem lies in the end results. Too many investors keep the loot for themselves. I believe in spreading it around a little. Sharing teaches a rich man to give as much as it teaches the poor man to beg.”

“I guess I’ve been overthinking this, huh?” I asked, rhetorically.

“Well, nobody’s perfect. Not here, anyway,” He said, waving His arm in a circle, meaning—here.

Just then, a drunk staggered toward us. “You talking to me?” he slurred, thinking Jesus was pointing at him. Then, looking around, he added, “Dis is Joe’s Honky-Tonk, ain’t it? Barkeep, I’ll have a martini. Shaken, not stirred.”

I was livid and started to get up from our table.

“Where are you going,” the Lord interrupted, laying His heavy hand on my arm.

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse,” I shot back. “In all the parks in all the towns in all the world, he walks into mine. I planned our meeting so we could be alone.”

“No worries, mate,” the Lord said. I looked up in time to see butterflies carry His words through the air. He asked the drunk, “Why don’t you come up and see me sometime? All you have to do is pray. You do know how to pray, don’t you?”

“I might do dat,” replied the drunk. “After all, tomorrow’s another day, ain’t it?” By the way, kind sir, what line of work are ya in?”

“I see dead people.”

“Wow! Cool, man! Everyone’s got a gimmick. Well, may the force be with you.” With that, the drunk staggered off.

“Now,” asked the Lord, turning back to face me. “Who’s on first? Tell you what, how about you talk and I’ll listen.”

“How did I know you’d say that? Well, where to start? I feel I must be frank. So much of the time I feel that you don’t understand me! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.” I just blurted it all out.

I was wallowing in my soup till I meekly looked up to see His fatherly expression. He stared at me for the longest time. I dared not say a word. Then, He reached across the table and enveloped my hands in His.

“Listen to me, mister. You’re my knight in shining armor. Don’t you forget it. You’re going to get back on that horse, and I’m going to be right behind you, holding on tight, and away we’re gonna go, go, go! Do you hear me? When I sent you here to fetch a body, my words were quite clear; You’re going out a youngster, but you’re gonna come back a star? Do you recall me telling you that?”

“Yes,” I said, “but for the longest time, I never heard from you.”

“That’s because you didn’t want to talk to me. Look around you. Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! If you listen to my words, with Me as your witness, you’ll never be hungry again. Surely, you realize I’m not talking about food, right?”

With that, He stopped talking and listened as I poured out my heart. I could tell by His piercing eyes that I was going to be alright. He’d always be ready to meet me at our picnic table.

“I’ve got to go now,” He said. “Just give me a shout anytime and I shall return.”

As he began to fade away, He smiled and said, “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

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