I haven't had a chance to catch up with everyone this past week. Things are very busy at the moment. Work is getting hectic, as I find myself working overtime to cover coworkers on vacation--and those who've decided to quit and find something better suited to their talents and preferences. I find myself spending most of the week waking up, getting ready for work, work, then come home, shower, then sleep. Then repeat. The few days I've had off, I've used to catch up on sleep. Although, I did get a nice 3 day weekend last week.
I went to Houston Friday afternoon to meet up with one of my best friend's younger siblings. The younger sibling is doing missionary work near Houston, trying to save people's lives and bring them religion--just as my best friend did years ago as a missionary in Asia. Naturally, I had to go and visit my best friend's younger sibling, to show some support, and take them out to eat. And quite possibly, try and tempt this missionary to see if they're just as wild and fun as their older sibling, my best friend--one of the best people to party with and go out on an adventure with. Okay, so seriously, I just wanted to see how they were doing and see if they needed anything.
If I remember correctly, missionaries are poor--and they're usually hungry after a long, hot day of knocking on doors and facing rejection and hostility. I met the younger sibling with his partner--that's missionary partner, as they send them out in pairs--and we went to a Mexican restaurant. Actually, it was a bar/restaurant. Sure, there were some guidelines that discourage the missionaries from going to bars, but given the choice between good food that someone was paying for or going to a bland fast food joint, the choice was obvious.
Just to be clear, I didn't suggest the Mexican bar restaurant to begin with. I was not familiar with the area. It was the missionaries who suggested the place, because someone they were talking to suggested it. They had no clue that it wasn't the sort of place missionaries frequent. The bar was packed, with the Friday night crowd with music and laughter in the air. Amid the crowd of casually dressed people, some showing more skin and tattoos than others, the missionaries stood out in their conservative clothing. I had to admit that I was curious about their reaction at going to a bar, but they handled it well.
At first, the sibling's partner seemed unsure, but my best friend's younger sibling pushed on ahead and adapted. It was a skill my best friend possessed--to adapt to unfamiliar surroundings and make the best of it. I couldn't help but smile at the family resemblance. I was suddenly reminded of my best friend doing things that the church would certainly not recommend, but my friend has an adventurous spirit, as does the younger sibling. No one in the bar took notice when the missionaries and I started praying before eating the food. I didn't mind the the prayer. I used to do that when I was growing up.
We actually stayed at the bar a lot longer than we had planned, talking about everything and anything. We stayed out longer than the missionaries were supposed to. And I admit, a small part of me was curious. Since I had gotten the missionaries to go to a bar and stay out past curfew, I wondered, just how far would these two missionaries stray off the path? Not that I would intentionally tempt them. That would be wrong. Still, I wanted to let them know that if they were curious to try the off the beaten path, I'd be willing to accompany them on a short trip. Sometimes, you find the most interesting and fun and amazing things when you take a different road.
Saturday morning, I slept in til noon. I was woken up by a phone call from my best friend, joking if I was ready to be baptized or was I trying to corrupt the younger sibling? I had a late lunch with the missionaries again. I took them to lunch at a BBQ place outside their designated area. But hey, the food was good and they were hungry. I asked them to go to a baseball game later that evening, but they couldn't. They had people to minister to and other religious obligations to meet. Another long meal enjoyed with good food, good company, and lots of laughter, and we called it a day. They had appointments to keep. I told them that I'd be back in town soon to visit another friend in Houston, and I'd make sure to see them again when I come back. We parted on good terms with tentative plans for our next outing. They have a day off to do their own thing. I plan on taking them out on the town and showing them a good time--the church doesn't need to know what they do in their off time. Even Jesus liked to party and go places.
Later that evening, a few friends and I went to a baseball game between the Houston Astros and the Pittsburgh Pirates. We pigged out on hot dogs, nachos, ice cream, and drinks. It was an exciting game. And it was fun to get up and do the wave and shout cheers and do all the local chants the fans do to show their support for the teams. There was also much alcohol involved. The Pirates held the lead all the way up to the last two innings when the local team finally caught up and sunk those Pirates! Astros win! We screamed and celebrated wholeheartedly. And after maneuvering out of the gridlock traffic of people leaving the stadium, we went to a club to continue the celebrations. We stayed out late, talking, laughing, joking, dancing, and just doing silly things to make each other laugh. It felt good. We stayed til closing, then we hit a late night cafe, where we ate pancakes and sausages before going home to sleep.
Sunday morning, I slept in again to recover from the night before. Had a late brunch with other friends, then went to an impromptu pool party. It was hot. A friend had access to the local swimming pool, so we grabbed some food, some drinks, some music, and we headed over to the pool to cool off. Did some cannonball dives, played chicken fight in the pool,and played water polo. We made some attempts at synchronized swimming. Suffice it to say that we won't be making our debut at the London Olympics.
Later that evening, after a shower, a nap, and dinner, I got in the car and made the drive home after the sun had set. I made it home before midnight. I went right to sleep. It was a good weekend. It was exactly what I needed to relax from a long, stressful, busy work week. And I can't wait to do it all over again.
Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars~Henry Van Dyke