Sunday, March 06, 2005

Chuck & Charles

Talk about your fun times...I spent a good part of this weekend with two old men.

Friday night Amy and I went out for our anniversary and were joined by one of Amy's former co-workers who is my age and the "guy" she's been seriously dating. That guy, whose name is Chuck, turned out to be an Oncologist.
Upon learning that I honestly thought, "great Chuck and I are going to have oodles to talk about." On the way to dinner Amy also told me Chuck was 63 years old. Later in the evening I found out she was wrong.

Chuck is 74, although he certainly doesn't look it.

He didn't make a big show of it, but Chuck is also obviously wealthy. My tip off came when he mentioned moments after we met that he knew "my boss" and his wife very well. By "my boss" he meant the recently retired CEO of the company for which I of the few billionaires in town. That "boss" and I haven't exactly shared too many intimate meals. I'm a little lower on the social ladder not to mention the food chain.

I truly thought I was in for a long night of strained conversation with an old man with whom I had nothing in common while Amy and her friend "caught up" and gabbed away.

I couldn't have been more wrong. We had a wonderful time, discussing all sorts of topics from how the internet is making new medical advances possible, to fine wine, to our personal hardships and our deep individual needs...primarily for God. Chuck is a brilliant yet humble man - I later learned he is an Oncologist of great distinction - he is also a very good listener.

As the night came to an end, we were alone for a few moments and I told Chuck it was one of the most enjoyable nights Amy and I had spent with any couple in a very long time and then he asked me if we couldn't do it again soon. I told him I certainly hoped we could...and I meant it.

After church today, Amy and I took our friend Charles out to lunch - we had a coupon for a free "family" meal at a local bbq joint otherwise knowing Charles he would have turned us down thinking we were taking pity on him. Charles is 73 or 74 years old. I've written of him before and his wife, Barbara, who died in December.

Charles is quite blunt, especially for a "retired" minister. We too have never been at a loss for words with each other. The conversation comes easy and no topic is off limits from money to death to sex. I think we hit on all of them and a few others today before reaching for a second helping of brisket and smoked turkey. Charles has opinions, advice and great wisdom on almost everything and I revel in listening to him. Charles is not the listener Chuck is and he is certainly more outspoken. I suspect that may in part be because he still carries very fresh wounds of loss and loneliness which provoke a certain sense of urgency within him to impart his knowledge to people he hopes it will benefit, but I also think to a great extent he's always been that way. That's Charles; all his cards are on the table.

I certainly don't mind, I like people who are direct. I love people who are honest. I count Charles as both and his wisdom speaks to me.

So I spent a good chunk of the weekend with two old men.

I will spend part of tonight praying for the opportunity to have more conversations with both of them.

I only hope they won't consider that a waste of their valuable time.

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5