THE SAUNA | Part 2

saunaSM  Most mornings I see the same guys. We all have a rhythm to life that puts us at the YMCA in a certain window of time. There is a Persian man who has come for as long as I have. Hairy body, gold chains, owns a used car dealership. We have short talk some mornings.

“How’s business?” I ask this morning. "Okay," he says. “Well sometimes ‘okay’ is good enough…” Then a pause to sweat...

"I read today that fifty million people in the U.S. go hungry every night; imagine, that’s not good in this country!" I offer, “A lot of desperate people even in the United States, I guess that is where family and community come in,” realizing as I say them that these words probably sound strange to him, especially in the sauna.

"You can’t trust people any more," he says. “Why?” "Because people rip you off." (Can’t disagree).

“Why, what happened?” "I hired a guy to do some work for me, he was really broke, really needed money bad, so I paid him his fee, and even more! He half finished the job, didn’t come back and stole from me."

I could tell this really upset him.

"Where I come from, people do not do this, there is honor." (Now his words caught me by surprise).

I spoke before measuring my thoughts in the context of a sweaty, manly place. “Don’t stop trusting people, it will make you so hard, it will make your life not good."

Fourteen other sweaty eyes looked at me; perhaps foreign language to all of us. Time for me to be quiet; everybody is just sitting, sweating and maybe thinking. I sat there contemplating our exchange. I have probably seen this guy for five years, we always grunt at each other. Now something true was said. I have to attribute such comments to the prompting of my inner spirit, to a holy spirit.

I stay for ten more minutes, stand, gather myself and move off the bench. Then, one more spirit thought. “Maybe the guy who ripped you off was one of the fifty million, and you just did your part to help.”

Persian eyes are penetrating. A small smile, a shrug, a grunt and I was out the door. 

I pray that maybe that seed didn’t fall on hard ground but on softer, tilled soil. If it grows, it really might help feed more of the fifty million.

All written content copyright Steven C. Wyer.