When I open up a book for the first time, I occasionally wonder about who the book is dedicated to. Who is this “For Sara or “To David?” Tonight I had one of those questions answered for me.
I don’t write on this blog as consistently as I’d like to. I get busy. I get distracted. I make excuses like getting busy and distracted. But I do read other peoples blogs pretty consistently. One of the blogs I read is Donald Miller’s. Don is the author of the bestseller “Blue Like Jazz”, which is dedicated to a “David Gentiles”.
Through reading Don’s blog post, I learned that David Gentiles was Don’s youth pastor. David recently passed away and Don gave his eulogy, which he posted on his blog at Donmilleris.com. David was the one who initially encouraged Don to write. And apparently he encouraged people to do a lot of things. Apparently he encouraged a lot of people period.
I did a Google search for “David Gentiles” and within a minute I had 10 new tabs open to things people had written about David following his passing. They all reiterated the same message, Love. David loved people.
Being home these past few weeks has not been easy for me. For a number of reasons really, but there is one I’d like to mention here.
For proclaiming to follow such a loving God we Christians sure are a judgmental group. It is no secret that a large majority of the people who I grew up with…have not made the most of their lives (to put it nicely). So coming home for me is tough, because I keep seeing friends and saying to myself “what are you thinking?” and I kind of want to say that (and some other things) to them. But I know that everyone else is saying those things. I mean, People say those things to me about my friends. So I know they hear it. In condescending tones adults ask me, “What is (Bob) doing with his life?” and the truth is I don’t know either and I have just as many questions for (Bob).
But I know that if I were Bob I wouldn’t want to answer those questions either if people asked me in such a judgmental tone. And I’ve usually chosen to stick by my friends no matter what their situation, because I figure that if I was in their situation, I would rather have someone standing by my side than someone asking “wtf are you doing with your life?” And maybe I should ask the tough questions of my friends, and sometimes I try to. I don’t if they need tough love or just love. It’s a dilemma that I don’t have the answers to.
But I’m tired. I’m tired of all the negative talk about the kids I grew up with and what their doing or not doing. I’m especially tired of hearing “what is he doing with his life?” from people who aren’t providing a very appealing alternative.
I’ve basically stopped fielding questions about my friends. It’s really, really, frustrating and disheartening to be honest with you.
I was very lucky to read about David Gentiles tonight. He appears to be someone who just loved. Period. And I know that I don’t know how to do that right, but I know I could try harder. And I know the adults that I’m fielding questions from could try harder to love the people that their speaking so negatively of. I know the Church(s) I attend could try harder to love the people they speak so negatively of. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?
And I know about “tough love” and constructive criticism and such, and I know there is a time and place for it, and maybe I’m completely wrong and that time and place is right now. But I can’t help but think that my friends need more people like David Gentiles in their lives.