Doing the right thing

I was at a party today with a good friend. I might have known five of the people there, and I think there were at least a hundred. To those of you unaware, this is an exceedingly uncomfortable social situation. But swimming and food was promised.

My friend and I walked off towards a fire pit and started talking. He was holding a beer, and I was holding a cream soda. “I’ve found something out about myself,” I said as we looked at the barely burned wood from a failed bonfire. “I’m more open and free, man.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s been like 600 days since I’ve had a real girlfriend. I burp and fart in public. If there are women, I turn to them, ‘Miss, excuse me.’ I flirt with just about everyone. Married and engaged is the line, but barring that. I had a friend who told me I’m insincere but oddly charming. I replied I didn’t understand, but it was so covered in hitting on her, I sheepishly agreed. I don’t even know what I’d do if a woman actually took me up on it.”

“I don’t see an issue with that.” He took a sip, then said, “Paul, you’re an honest man.”

“I’m too old for games. I don’t need to date someone for a year and she loves the lies. I make dirty jokes and fart in public. I can hold them back for her parents, but not likely her friends.”

He laughed, then said, “I went to a restaurant the other day with my fiance.” He what? We obviously switched topics. We’re no longer on honesty, and I’m okay with that, but I had to change gears.

“I got the bill and I saw that they didn’t charge me for my food.” It happens.

“You know what I thought of? You.” He thinks of me while out to dinner with his future wife? I’m touched. Most people don’t think of me seconds after we spoke.

“Remember when we went to the bar and didn’t get charged for a round of shots? You went out of your way to point it out and pay for them. You’re an honest man, Paul.” We took another sip. I was putting the pieces together. If it’s not the complicated plot line of a novel, I can sometimes have issues connecting dots. “I didn’t get coupons, but that’s okay.”

There was clarity in the next moment. Because I was honest about our shots, he was honest with his bill. I did end up getting coupons, but I threw them out. I tried not to let it show, and since I usually have a pretty dead pan look, I think I covered it perfectly, but I really was touched. I did something at a bar, of all places, and it influenced the actions of another. There was a good deed placed in front of me, for the glory of God, and I did not shy from it. It influenced someone else, when put in the same situation, to glorify God in such a small and beautiful act, and he paid for his dinner.

I talk about what I do often. Sometimes it’s a little narcissistic. Sometimes it’s to deaden the pain I often feel. Ultimately, I just want others to feel they can do it. When I boast, I do not mean to put the spotlight on me (kind of). I mean to show you that some chunker who isn’t really that unbelievably intelligent can do good works. And if I can do good works, if I can show love to those around me, so can you. Anyone can. I’m not that special. I’m not incredible. I do abhorrent acts. I break hearts. I hurt people. That doesn’t mean tomorrow I can’t make someone smile through some small act of love, even if it’s just an upbeat greeting.

Love the world and hold nothing back for yourself. It won’t always create good things, it can still bring on a great deal of pain. But without it, this world will never blossom and it will never improve.

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