I walked in the building, that same building I’d walked into thousands of times. Somehow it was different this time. It was the first time. Back.
Much hadn’t changed. Many familiar faces still smiled my way. Still, it was uncomfortable. It was a mix of relief and grief, a tonic of remembrance with a tinge of never forget. Maybe we’ll unpack all of that someday. Maybe not.
In it all I saw a face that was mired in pain not too long ago. It was the face of the strung-out kid, barely hanging on. I hoped for him back them and loved him for his exuberance and the way that his eyes lit up when he spoke – when someone really listened. His drugs were never really the issue. Now he has a face of absolute beauty to me, a walking piece of redemptive evidence. He eyes light up the same as they always have, but somehow they have a gentler glow. He has been firmly gripped by a love that neither of us understand, a grace that truly goes beyond our ability to understand. He walks freely. He lives unhindered. Exuberant still.
He is not an object of my hope anymore, at least the same type of hope. I no longer hope for his rescue. I now hope for all that lies ahead of him, for the perfect picture of mercy and abundance that he can be to the world.
I cried seeing him there that morning. Same t-shirt. Same scruffy face. Same goofy guy. But his eyes were alight with the unmistakable caress of a real, purposeful life. And I was thankful for him all over again. I was also hopeful again. Maybe there are more like him.
I think he knows who he is. And I think he might read this. If so... My friend, you inspire me to try harder. You motivate me to give more. Your existence gives me hope.