Sunday, January 3, 2010

Forest Green

Pacific Blue...and Forest Green...
Color rolling ocean waves and summer leaves....
This is the beginning lyric of a song I wrote called, "CRAYONS"....
You can hear the entire song at:
I think Freud was onto something when he talked about how the mind sometimes works "subliminally".
I was probably somewhere between 8 and 10 years old (5th or 6th grade?)... When sometime mid-year a new kid showed up in school one day. His name was Forest Green... (and, no, I'm not making this up). Forest Green was a lot different than the rest of us classmates. He seemed to wear the same clothes every day to school, he was unkempt and quiet... pretty much kept to himself. Also, at our school we had "hot lunches". Back then I believe it cost 50 cents a day if you wanted to eat a cafeteria lunch. I think most of us kids did...except for Forest. He brought his lunch in a paper sack (I think it was the same papter sack every day)... One day I just happened to notice that all he had in his sack was a bologna sandwich...maybe it was peanut butter...the exact memory fails me. All I know is that, in my world, at that time, Forest Green was very "different" than me. I do know that I (and the rest of the class) pretty much left him to himself. We probably made fun of him and teased him... the way kids are prone to do when they encounter someone quite unlike themselves. Forest was only in our midst for a short time...probably a few weeks at the most. One day I came to school and he was simply "gone". Looking back I imagine that his family was poor and transient and the father (if there was one in the home) probably lost a job and they had to move on.
Sometimes, even now, a half-century later, I find myself wondering what ever happened to that young boy who moved in and out of my life like a wisp of smoke. Did he ever escape the cycle of poverty? Did he end up in a juvenile facility? Prison? ... Did he ever find love? ... get married?... Does he have kids?... Is he even still alive?
In First Corinthians 13, the "Love" Chapter, it reads: "When I was a child I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways behind me." Sometimes, when I think about Forest, it makes me wonder... Have I really? Have I put childish ways "behind me"?... as an adult?
It seems that God, in His infinite wisdom, has always provided Forest Greens who periodically move in and out of my life... those "Ragamuffins" of society who somehow always show up unexpectedly and inconveniently in all their scruffiness and unlikeableness. Jesus was constantly criticized by the religious leaders of His time for not only hanging out with, but embracing the poor, the downtrodden, the lepers, the dregs of "society". When I read the Gospels I can't help but be taken by the fact that God loves ragamuffins. As a follower of Jesus (yes, I try)... I'm embarassed to admit that I, more often than not, still yearn to "cling to my childish ways". I still want to run the other direction when I see someone "different" than the person I think I am. ("I THINK I am") being the key phrase. God help me.... to see the worth in every human being created in YOUR image!... Help me "grow up" and put away the foolishness of childhood. Father, forgive me....Forest...forgive me. For not being there for you when you desperately needed a kind word...when all you wanted was someone to care... just another little kid who would play catch with you or sit down and share his lunch with you. When you needed...a friend.
I know,... I know... It was years ago. I was just a child back then. But now, I have no excuse.

1 comment:

  1. Oh you made me cry to remember all the ragamuffins that I have encountered in my life and also the times I have been one......