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Two Conversations

Down in Carson yesterday, I was trying to teach a young Hispanic girl how to shoot set-shots. I kept at it for a half an hour, and she just wanted to prance and play, so we didn’t get very far. That’s not true – she did get better over time, and seemed to improve in her accuracy. But after twenty minutes of encouragement and silly dancing around, she asked me:

How old are you?

Well, that didn’t seem fair, so I asked her how old she was. Then I told her I was more than five times her age. She kept on going with guesses until she learned that I was fifty-four. When I asked her why she asked, she said:

You act like you’re younger than that.

So I asked: “If I came here all serious and stuffy, would you be shooting baskets with me?”


“But that’s what I’m here for. It doesn’t make a difference what you think about me – this is all about you. I work five days a week writing software and doing mathematics. But when I come here, it’s all about what works for you.”

My father says that if her parents find out, they’ll never let her come again.

And then this morning, to the priest who had just announced that he was leaving religious orders because his out-spoken passion for Christ had caused too much friction in the community:

As someone who has been told that his expressions of faith frighten people, my experience has been that sometimes I have to choose to say nothing, and let the broken heart of Christ within me speak for itself. Sometimes words will not do – we just have to let others feel what we feel. We have to take people into our hearts. It is as Jesus said: ‘Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. For my heart is humble, my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

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