Written on May 9, 2017.
Last night was date night, which usually finds us beneath stars and story. But alas, we had some things we needed to do in town, so we headed to the mall.
The food court may not be the most romantic dinner spot, but it was what it was and so we both chose our tasty spots and their lines. I worked my way through swiftly and scanned for a table. I was headed for one when I felt to go to a different section.
Settling in, I saw that my person had me in his sights, as he always does (that guy!!) and would join me soon. It was then that I heard the crash of the chair, scrape of the table and scream of a young woman. Turning, I saw the disturbance had begun right next to the table I almost chose. That table in fact, was now moved across the floor.
Two young men were locked in a less than friendly “hug”. On any other day, they may have been sitting at the same table, putting away pizza and slurping soda. But this day, there was something between them, though no space now separated them. One shouted over and over, “You hurt my best friend and you don’t even care.”
Most other occupants lost interest and looked away. But my heart squeezed tight in the vise of their pain. This was not part of my everyday. Or was it? As I watched and prayed, recognition came that I was witness to the wrestling world. The one that tosses and tumbles around me each and every day. Chests heaving, nostrils flaring, fists full of flesh, heads buried so deep into the grapple, vision departed, perspective spent.
I wondered in the weight, if the one defending his friend had ever embraced him quite so fully, held him as tightly as he did this great enemy now. Head to chest, feeling a hammering heart, beating out the fear and pain of trying to be something so much more. Had they ever wrestled down the lie so the truth could rest? Plucked together the seed that grows between. Growing in darkness until light breaks through. Arrested the slithering falseness that says we are all contenders instead of champions. That we must fight for ourselves and fill our fists with what we find instead of opening our hands to what awaits us. That life is about winning instead of victory. And denies the desperation for open hands to be clasped and raised in praise and proclaim.
The brawl was but the width of a few breaths. For just as I felt my person approaching, a man entered my view. His dark brown uniform nearly matched the color of his skin. Swiftly entering the story, he never raised his voice. He simply clapped. Three times. It was enough. They startled and stopped. It was then I noticed his name tag. I don’t know why it pierced me so, except for the knowing that he was named. I couldn’t read the tag but I imagine it said “humble” or “laid down” or “servant”. Then came his voice, quiet and strong. A two word sermon tumbled out. “Everyone matters.” Amen.
He left the scene as the young men did. But the candor didn’t. It seeped and seared. Not one head now averted, all on alert. Everyone matters. Those who stopped looking and those who can’t stop. And those with hands to clap. Hands that carry peace, order, beauty.
We the humble, laid down, servants here to tell a wrestly, wrangly world it matters. That they, the great they, whose sum is the world, matter.
Let the Light reveal a wrestlers ring inside you. A place where you feel you must contend to win instead of being champion, with victory already assured.
Create an atmosphere of rest for those coming. Leave a little note at each place reminding each one of the champion they are!