Saturday, October 25, 2008

Flashbacks From Hell

Sometimes things remind you of where you've come from and where you are.

The other night my wife Jane and our 11 yr. old son went to dinner.
They wanted Vietnamese food (the best egg rolls in the world) so we went to our favorite "Qui Viet". We've gone there for decades and the owner Neigh Liegh has seen all our children grow up. His manager was working the other night and when we went to the register to pay the bill our son Jordan was making some comment about life not being fair, as he was texting a friend on his phone. The manager, a quiet 60's ish Vietnamese man was at the register taking our bill as he's done a hundred times before. Yet for some reason he was listening to Jordan's comments and all of a sudden he stopped and stared. As in a flashback.

Are you 11? he asked Jordan. Jordan said yes sir while texting on his phone.
You know when I was your age, I wore a white shirt to school each day. We all had to.
(It was like he was lost in a vision of the past as he spoke).
We all wore white shirts and walked the dirt roads for miles to and from school.
My mother used to go out each week and turn over dead children with white shirts on that dirt road. Turning over each body and hoping it wasn't me.

He kinda snapped out of his daze.

When I was your age in the Mecong Delta, the North Vietnamese troops used to come down each day and shoot us on our ways to school and back. Our white shirts on a dirt road made us an easy target. They just loved killing us. Any age, anytime.

Without saying it, he was telling my son that he should never complain about anything!
WOW. I was silent. Jordan was silent. We all were soaking in what we had just heard.

I asked him how life was now, knowing he had been here living in the States for decades.

He looked me in the eyes and said with sad tone, "ok", and he looked away.

Without Jesus, there is no hope. It doesn't matter where you've come from or where you've been, what you've been saved from or blessed with. Without a living faith and a savior, there is no hope or peace or joy.

So I asked myself, how can I help this manager? How can I love him, show him Jesus?
How will anyone?

I suppose I can pray for him each day. Yes, that's a good idea.
I suppose I could continue to go back and maybe give him a gift? a faith neutral record or book or piece of clothing. Try to find someway to let him know I care for him. WHY? To hopefully let him find a way to trust me enough to be honest about his "life". Have you earned the right to speak into the lives of those around you who need Jesus? I've failed over and over.
Lord help me become that person who no matter where they go, they are always thinking, praying, and loving strangers as He first loved us.

Imagine the horrors people have survived around us, who won't talk about it because they don't trust us with their secrets. From the war victims, to the abused, and battered, the addicts and the forgotten. Let love open that door today.

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