Isn’t it usually the man who waits on the woman? Well, in this case I’m waiting on SO to give me his take on Strike Back. I want it because, well, he’s just so blasted interesting most of the time. After all the years we’ve been together, he still surprises me and almost always has something to say that makes me think. It has been that way since the first day I laid eyes on him.
I was taking probably the most boring class I had in college. It was one of those filler classes when all the ones you really want keep closing, and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t stay in the class but was going to give it a couple of weeks before dropping. The classroom was in one of the older buildings on campus and had huge doors with transoms and desks instead of the slicked up table and chairs bolted to the floor. The first day I stepped into the room there were about 30 or so desks facing the blackboard and hardly anyone was in them. Across from the door and facing the sides of the desks was a lone desk, and there sat SO. I remember thinking, “Why is that guy sitting there when all these desks are empty?” Immediately I thought he was too self-aware and a turkey; he just had to be different. Wasn’t I a nice piece of work? The cynic was alive and well even then.
The room finally filled up and the instructor came in. He was an old guy with a comb over and chalk dust all over the front of his pants. I had to keep from rolling my eyes. Yes, I was a real piece of work who let no one out from under the magnifying glass. He launched into the requisite speech about how he ran his class, and I wasn’t really listening like I should have been. My eyes kept straying to the turkey sitting to the side of all of us. Then the instructor said there would be devotions at the beginning of each class and the students would be called on to do them. That got my attention. As much as I liked to wax on about my opinions, I knew I didn’t have any devotional material and wasn’t inclined to get any. Then the instructor took us all off the hook and said it was completely voluntary, and that he already had someone to do the first devotion. He extended his hand to the side of the room, and I turned to see SO standing up in his ragged jeans and golf shirt. Humph I wondered as he squeezed down the aisle to get to the front. What in tarnation could this guy have to say that wouldn’t sound contrived?
He said hello and made a shy grin reminiscent of James Dean (funny thing about it is that I found out later he had never seen James Dean; heard of him but didn’t really know who he was). I was almost a goner at that moment, and then he said he was reading from Romans 14. Oh yeah, I knew it was going to be lame. The weaker brother stuff again. It was verse 4: “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand,” and then he looked right at me and grinned again. I was about to feel convicted, well, yes, I did feel convicted, but I was definitely a goner when he said, “I don’t sweat too much about what others are doing, and I hope no one sweats too much about what I’m doing,” and then he sat down. I don’t think I heard a word the teacher said that day. I could not stop thinking about those moments. They were like a drumbeat in my head, and that was the case for the next three weeks when I stepped into that class. It’s a miracle I passed the course.