He is stoned at the gym.
I know several gym rats that enjoy a little herbal refreshment first thing in the morning before a workout. I don't get it, but to each his own.
Am I my brother's keeper?
Dude peers at me through red, bleary eyes.
"How's it goin'?" He juts his chin at me.
"I'm good. Just doin' my thing," I say.
"I hear ya. ...I cut my hair."
"I can see that," I say noting the absence of a foot long ponytail. "Looks good."
"Shaved too. You should tell J," he smiles referring to my husband.
"I totally will," I say in my kindest dismissive tone.
I came here to workout, ya know. I'm no chatty Kathy when it comes to my workouts. Gotz to get that shoulder pump. Can't have bat wings. No saggy thighs here! I'll kill myself if I have to.
"I used to be Mormon too," he says.
Dude has peeked my interest.
"Oh yeah? You don't go anymore?"
"I don't. But I feel like maybe I should or whatever...."
"What's stopping you? You should go if you wanna go."
"I feel like maybe I'd be a liar if I went to church." He suddenly looks very shy and uncertain. Beseeching. Small. Like a child. A stoned gym rat child.
I felt his sincerity in my gut. How could I encourage him in this worthy endeavor?
"Why would you feel like a liar? People in church are not perfect. They go there to be better. But none of them is perfect," I say, sagely.
"Well I would just feel like a liar because, like, what if I went to church and then the next Friday I had a beer and went to a ti**y bar?"
ACK! Didn't expect talk of boob bars just then. Didn't expect THAT! WHAT IN THE WORLD DO I SAY NOW????
How is one to gracefully encourage another to follow his heart and go to church when there is mention of NUDE POLE DANCERS?!
I'm not used to men admitting they go to strip clubs in my presence.
He was clearly used to discussing it.
So be it. I CAN CONQUER THIS MOUNTAIN!
"I'm just being real, dude. That's my life. That's what I do," said Dude.
Again his sincerity broke my heart.
He feels lost, I thought. And high. A bad combination.
"You should come to church. It doesn't make you a liar. Going might give you perspective."
He looked doubtful and shrugged.
"Right on, dude. I'll check you later."
As he walked away I thought, Now THERE is a man with potential.
Changes for the better always begin with a pinch of desire. Dude is on the right track. Right on, man. Right on.