Friday, March 14, 2008

Date night interrupted

Thursday night Diane and I had a date night. The pace of life and work has been so great that I was convicted of the need to carve out time for just us, once a week, every week. We’ve had some great friends step forward to give us free childcare, and so we were out on our own, enjoying some Qdoba. My phone rang three times with an unidentified number, and finally I answered it. It was a man that I had been working with for about 3 weeks through the church. He is homeless, but had obtained a great job and we had been helping him with cab fare to work, getting tools for his job, and bus passes. It had taken a lot of my time (even outside normal work hours) and a good bit of money from the church, but to get him working and to the point where he could eventually move out of the shelter and sustain himself was worth it.

I had forgotten that he had asked me to hold his money from his first paycheck, because he was afraid it would get stolen from him, and so he was calling me that evening to give me his money. But I was on a date with my wife. True, we were through eating. I could have driven to where he was to get the money. But I was on a date with my wife, and she needed to know that she does not always come second to ministry. I felt bad that I had forgotten that he was going to call, and I was anxious for Diane to know that she was a priority, so I was little short with him, telling him that I would call him later. I tried two times last night, to no avail, and I have not heard from him today. I called the shelter and he moved out this morning. I called the guy who was driving him around yesterday, and he told me that “Bob” had asked him yesterday to take him to get some drugs, but that he hadn’t obliged. Bob had not told me that he had a drug addiction history.

And so tonight, I wrestle with whether I did the right thing. I know that it’s right to prioritize Diane, for her to know that she is number one. But it’s tempting to take responsibility for his choices, whatever those may be right now. It’s tempting to expect the worst and to think that I could have ‘saved” him. It’s tempting to think that I have failed because I wasn’t ready to help at a moment’s notice. I can still hear him asking, “What do you want me to do?”

I think that there is a way of the Spirit, a way that allows me to honor Diane while still letting Bob know that I hear him and am willing to help him once my time with my wife is through. I am not sure my heart was in that place, but, as always, my hope and Bob’s hope is the Lord alone. There is a Savior, His name is not Marshall. Thank goodness.

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