Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Fred

You just never really know about people.

I had seen the groundskeeper at our church a number of times - he'd come in off the mower and we'd say "Hi" or perhaps I'd give him a nod on a Sunday morning, but for the most part I had assumed that he was one of the older, more traditional members of our congregation and we just didn't really have that much in common.

Then one day I have to shoot a video about serving in the church and I ask Fred if I can intervew him regarding his groundskeeping. He misunderstands at first and thinks I'm going to ask him about his spiritual life, to which he responds: "I'm not sure you really would want to hear what I have to say. See, I'd consider myself more of a gnostic Christian."

Now, the church that we belong to would perhaps be considered a tad more liberal than most evangelical churches - but it's still a very ordinary, traditional-thinking clan of people. And for someone to come out and admit that they were open to "out-of-the-box" spirituality was shocking and - to be honest - a breath of fresh air.

He went on to talk about how much he loves the work of Joseph Campbell and is much more into the teachings of Jesus than all of the "institution" that has built up around it. Since that time, he's given me the 6-disc audio CDs of Campbell's Power of Myth (I had read the book, but the audio makes it come alive!) and I've let him borrow my copy of The Gospel of Thomas. We chat occasionally and every time I see him out there mowing the enormous yard (which he does a few times a week for no pay), I can't help but think he's silently appreciating and meditating on the wonder and awe of God's Creation.

Lessons learned:

  1. Don't assume anything about anybody.
  2. God will send you companions on your journey.
  3. There are mystics in our midst.

4 comments:

isaiah said...

What a wonder-filled story!

You are right-on here, Trev...just imagine how you made this gentleman feel by taking time to listen to him- not to mention relate to him in such a fashion.

Mystics, all around us, there are. Who is listening? Who is asking?

What a shared blessing...

Meredith said...

I love this! You found a pearl - a real treasure for you. And he did, too!

This is sweet synchrony.

gratefulbear said...

Another unlikely person who has been reading Pagels and the Gnostics: Jane Fonda. Check out her interview at Beliefnet.com.

Great story, Trev, and great lessons learned.

Jon said...

I love your story about meeting Fred. And your conclusions about there being companions for us mystics everywhere.