Ran Into An Old Lover the Other Day…

I ran into an old lover the other day. I hadn’t seen her in ages. I was unprepared for the accidental encounter. Forced smiles. Mumbled pleasantries. Hastily exchanged phone numbers. An awkward hug and a peck good-bye. I wish I had run into a brick wall instead.

Whenever I run into an old friend or paramour that I have not seen for years I reflect on all that has changed in my life since we last met. If it it’s an old girlfriend I take stock of my physical condition first. Have I gained any more pounds since we last met? Have all those hours jogging feverishly made a difference? Can she tell that my hair is thinner?

Ah, but we are all slowly physically deteriorating. We are all plodding down that road that leads to old age and death. Unless The Grim Reaper strikes us in our prime we will all leave behind battered and bruised bodies. We should be less worried with the physical and more concerned with the spiritual.

It is important that we periodically reflect on our spiritual growth or lack thereof. I measure my spiritual maturity not by how often I attend church but by how much time I spend attending to the needs of others. Sometimes we can accomplish a lot simply by smiling at an individual who has suffered a stressful day at work but at other times we need to spend hours consoling a friend who has suffered a loss.

In my younger days my time was consumed catering to the lusts and desires of my flesh but now I spend more time helping others. Only by dying to our selfish needs can we truly live a life that matters.

In years past whenever I met a mate that I hadn’t seen in a long time the first thing I did was compare jobs. We would both exaggerate our incomes and inflate our authority. I am no longer concerned with impressing old friends with my piddling job. Nowadays I simply tell long lost buddies where I work and leave it at that.

I spend most of the conversation asking the buddy that I just ran into what is going on in his or her life. If I don’t get a word in edgewise that is perfectly all right with me. My old pal will leave with a glow on his face because I cared so much about his life.

And so if you bump into an old acquaintance don’t be obsessed with how you look or how you are dressed. Do not waste the precious few minutes you have bragging about your job or your material possessions. Use your precious moments wisely listening intently instead of lying outrageously. I believe that every chance encounter is a divine opportunity to be a blessing.

I wish that my unpleasant memories had not intruded on that old lover I met the other day. Instead of being a blessing I was a sourpuss. I pray that I will make up for it the next time that I run into an old friend.

©1998, Robert Paul Reyes

Robert Paul Reyes lives in Alameda, California, and works for an insurance company to support his ‘real’ occupation as a writer. He is a cyber-columnist for the Internet version of the Star-Telegram of Fort Worth, Texas. His personal web page is entitled My Version of the Truth. You can send him email here.