Outside the Faith: the doubled edged compliment & criticism

BJ was over today, a surprise event, given that the married father of two, engineer by day and hobbiest-inventor by night, just showed up with his long-bed truck about thirty minutes after Rog left to go skiing.

“What are you doing?” I ask him, noticing the top of his truck is up and his lawnmower is sticking half-way out the back.

“I’m going to mow your lawn and cut down the blackberry bushes while Rog is gone,” he said, already unloading the push-mower. I try to stop him, hobbling toward him as fast as my crutches will allow, telling him he won’t.

“What are you going to do?” he laughs, continuing about his business. “Stop me?” He’s smiling broadly, the face-wide grin on his square face, atop his squat, muscle-bound body that attests to his state championship title when he was in high school, when I first met him. I’ve watched him evolve from young man to father, our relationship maturing along the way, from a boy that wouldn’t look me to one who barely acknowledged my presence and now today, both adults. It is in this state that the still uses a respectful tone with me, but now its sassier, more like a brother than an associate.

“Beside, I like Rog, even though he’s outside the faith.” Before his last comment registered, I responded that I liked him too, which is helpful, and then as I stood watching, the gravity of his phrase hit.

Outside the Faith. How interesting. How many women (or men) are married to a person ‘not of the faith’ and are looked upon as different. In this case, BJ, who has know Rog as long as I’ve known him, looks at Rog almost as a mini-idol. I’ve gathered this over the years from the things he’s said, his aspirations: “I’d really like to show Rog my truck. Is he around?” to “I invented this wake board that is jet propelled and can lift you ten feet off the ground. I want Rog’s opinion” and so on.

I’m off pondering how many Jewish, Baptist, or whatever people “of faith” of had family, friends or acquaintances say something like this, because it’s such a double-edge sword, sort of like “she’s not bad, for a red-headed dwarf” or something strange. Thanks, I think.

“You know, he’s a better father and family guy than most of the men who come to church,” BJ tells me, getting ready to pull the cord on the lawn mower.

“He’s a pretty good guy,” I agree, then add, “and I’ve had a few people in the church say that to me as well.” What else am I supposed to say? This is why Rog doesn’t bother go to church- because he thinks half the men in my church are hypocrites, who espouse family but then spend more time doing their own things. Nope. I keep my mouth shut, take the compliment, and tell BJ that I’d still like to pay him something for just showing up.

“You can go back inside now,” he politely suggests, his mind made up, completely ignoring my request. I found it ironic. That’s exactly what Rog would say to me. Maybe he is of the faith after all.