Young Man, Old Man, Soup Spoon

Act One

The two men walked down the street in the direction of the coffee shop. The old man was somewhere in his eighties and had been walking with the Lord longer than the younger one had been alive. Actually, "walking" is too passive a word . . . more like "fighting." He was a feisty old man and his fight had been one for truth and honesty from himself and from God. The resulting wisdom and lively charm made his younger companion look forward to these meetings.

   As the two men approached the coffee shop, they happened to pass a young woman. She was dressed in such a way as to take fullest advantage of the warm weather and her physical attributes. The awkward silence that followed in her wake confused the young man. He had known this silence before with his peers. It was always full of uncomfortable questions like "Do I ignore this? Do I break the tension by making a joke? Do I say something spiritual?" With his peers, he could understand it, but with an old man whose eyesight was dim and whose glands were most likely dried up, it didn't make sense. His curiosity finally got the best of him and he blurted out, "Do you ever get over that?"

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   "Not yet," replied the old man with a twinkle. The young man was shocked. At his age, his maturity, his wisdom — and he was still dealing with lust? Moments later, seated in the coffee shop, the young man pursued the conversation. "Do you mean to tell me that it doesn't get any better?"

   The old man's appearance was a fitting backdrop for his forthcoming reply. The skin on his face hung low on the bones pulled down by eighty years of gravity. Small, stubby gray hairs grew out of brown moles on his cheeks, and who knows what was growing out of his ears. His coat hung low like the skin of his face, and nothing — the coat, the shirt, the pants, or the tie — matched. His tie was the unwary target of much gesturing with a half-filled soup spoon.

   He leaned into the table and smiled over the rim of his glasses. "Do I look like it's getting any better?" Another blotch of soup decorated his tie.

   The young man laughed at the comical scene across the table, but his mind was whirling with the implications of the old man's point of view. He had always assumed the older one got, the easier it was to be godly.

   "Well, you dirty old man!" he joked.

   "No, no. Healthy old buzzard maybe, but not dirty old man."

   "What's so healthy about lust?"

   "Nothing," said the old man. "But who said anything about lust? What's so unhealthy about sexuality?"

   The young man plunged into his soup du jour with greater vigor. That point had hit close to home. It made him wonder how much of his own sexuality he was denying in his struggle with sin.

   "But it's hard to affirm your sexuality when you're fighting lust all the time," he thought out loud.

   That's exactly your problem," said the old man. "You're expending too much energy fighting lust when you've got much better things to do with your sexuality."

   "Name one."

   The old man's voice was more deliberate than before. "Our society is so obsessed with the physical expression of sexuality that the emotional and spiritual aspects are overlooked. Sexuality is a vital part of your God-given humanity. It's not just an isolated physical act. You can turn your sexual power outward

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to serve and care for others rather than keeping it to yourself in a closet."

   The old man's soup spoon now doubled as both a band director's baton and a sword jabbing his point at the young man across the table. It's original function had long been usurped.

   "What I'm really trying to get at is that it's okay to be a human being — a human sexual being. God made man male and female and He said it was good." The soup spoon baton crescendoed to its final note. "And after eighty years of living it out, I can say it's good too.

   "Of course, there's another solution to the problem," he said after a brief pause.

   "What's that?"

   "You could become a eunuch. Jesus suggested it."

   At that statement the young man spewed a mouthful of water over the table. Between coughs and sputters, he said, "No thanks!"

   The old man leaned forward for the last time, sword in hand. "Excuse me," he said, "but that's how you've been dealing with this matter so far."

   The two men sat frozen in each other's stare for an instant until the younger one broke the silence. "I. . . I think you spilled some soup on your tie."

   "Oh, so I did," said the old man, leaning back, lifting up his glasses so he could see under his nose. "Oh, well . . . kind of blends in with the overall design, don't you think?"

Chapter 6  ||  Table of Contents