Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash Where could he be? Traffic was extra heavy the night of our Sunday school Christmas party in 2016, and although I left work as soon as I could, I still arrived at the home of our pastor and his wife about 15 minutes late. But where was Tom? He had volunteered to bring one of our more senior class members with him, so he would have left from the church and picked her up on his way. Neither of us liked to be late, so since I couldn’t control what time I finished work, I figured he would arrive first. Not prone to worry, I busied myself helping set up the huge array of food for our potluck meal (remember those?). Still, I kept my phone handy. We waited, and waited, and after some other late arrivals, we finally started the meal without our two stragglers. I didn’t want to bug Tom if he were stuck in traffic. So I kept looking at my phone, holding off on my own meal until he arrived. Surely he’ll show up in just a few more minutes. More than an hour after the party began, I got my phone call. As I anticipated, Tom sounded upset. “I don’t even know what’s going on,” he told me. “It’s like I can’t get there from here. We’re coming, though.” “How long do you think you’ll be?” “I have no idea.” And just like that, he ended the call. In another 20 minutes, I had another call, this time more frantic. “Tell me the address,” he said. The address? Why does he need the address? Wouldn’t he have already entered it in his phone? And besides, he’s been here multiple times. What on earth is going on? Finally, nearly two hours after the party started, Tom pulled up with our friend after what should have been at most, even in holiday traffic, a 30- or 45- minute drive. Always gracious, she joined the happy group, chattering away about the traffic and ever-present construction. But Tom remained silent. Angry? Embarrassed? I couldn’t tell. All I knew was that no, he didn’t want to eat. No, he didn’t want to play games. And yes, he was extremely upset. For a few minutes, I thought we might need to make a quick exit. I had rarely seen him in such a state. He sat across from me at the table. But once he realized the party was well underway and no one seemed to pay much attention to his tardiness, he relaxed. We finished the evening well and enjoyed the fellowship with dear friends. Still, I was thankful when another man volunteered...Read More
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