[If you have missed the last few Catches, you will wonder who this “Ben” is. He is the main character in my novel, Saint Ben that we are bringing back for a re-release. To catch up, go to our website and scroll down to “Why Saint Ben?” and the next few Catches will summarize the story.]
And his smile will light a candle
That will burn in your heart.
– From a song I wrote about Chandler shortly after he was born
I suddenly realized we have our own “Ben” in the house. He’s way more spiritual than I give him credit for. He is a truth-teller, and he makes you into one too by the sheer force of his character. You can’t lie to him because the truth is laid bare the minute you look at him.
Like Ben, he has a different way of thinking that brings everything into sharper focus. You don’t know what he knows, and he rarely tells, but when he does, you had better stop everything and listen. And if you don’t understand (and usually I don’t), you have to be patient and keep listening because one day you will.
When you try to teach him something, you soon find out he already knows. You think you’re going to bring him up to speed, but you soon realize you are the one who has fallen behind. You spend time with him because you want to be a good influence. The real adventure is what happens to you from being with him.
You send him away to treatment (the worse day of your life), and when you go visit him, you realize you are the one who needs it. You also find out he’s running the treatment center. He will tell you when he is ready to come home and not a minute sooner. He hates you for sending him away, but then he thinks that maybe he should have stayed a little longer. You sent him a prayer pillow in treatment and then wondered if he might think it was a little dorky. He responded by asking for one for everyone in his unit by name. He was the spiritual leader for his house.
Suddenly you remember that your job is not to get him to think like you think (that will never happen), but to get inside his shoes, and look at the world through his eyes. It doesn’t take long for you to realize you have a long way to go.
I suddenly realized we have our own “Ben” in the house. His name is Chandler and he is now 21 years old. Like Ben, he doesn’t smile often, but when he does, you know this is what you have been waiting for all along.
* * * * *
Everyone has a Saint “Ben” in their life — someone who sees things from a different perspective, or who people can easily judge because he/she isn’t like them, or doesn’t play by the altogether-too structured rules.
We want to hear about your “Ben.” You know. The one you have come to admire even when it seems they are making trouble or saying things you don’t quite understand, or who talks about things you never knew existed — like the other side of the moon.
You know your “Ben.” He/she is the one who surprises you how comfortable they are when discussing difficult subjects but fades away from a conversation that is just too merry. Have you ever been fearful of what your “Ben” will say to company about you or your world?
We would like to hear about the “Ben” you know who is brilliant and reckless, yet committed to truth at any cost.
Do you know a “Ben” who was born with a hole in the heart like all of us, and is angry with God over that?
Tell us about this unorthodox instrument of God in your life — the Saint “Ben” who allows you to witness their “Ben”-shaped hole in the heart of God. We want to be introduced to this person.
Are you recognizing this person for the first time today? Or have they been in your life for a long time? If so, how are you going to reintroduce yourself? Will you walk alongside them to listen so that you might learn from what they think?
Have you hidden your “Ben” from your sphere of influence because you were afraid they would act out? If so, what are your next steps toward restoration? If you do not know, try stepping into their life to see yourself as they see you.
Keep your eyes open today for a Saint “Ben” to cross your path or go out and find one. Try not to tell them what you want to say but listen to what they say. Open your eyes wide and see what they see — and then, reach out in love. Who knows, you just might even get to see for the first time the other side of the moon.