Actually, I only have one 'enemy" and I started praying for him last week. But as a blog title that wasn't as interesting.
My husband Neal received a book by Stephen King for Christmas (no, Stephen King is not my enemy). At some point, when I have time, I'll read it. But I already read the back cover (the book is "Revival", btw). I imagine, from reading the back cover blurb, that Mr. King may have originally wished to titled the book "The Fifth Business". The blurb consists of, in summary, comparing everyday life with movie industry plots. You have your main characters, your supporting cast and your bit characters. It goes on to read: "But sometimes a person who fits none of these categories comes into your life. This is the joker who pops out of the deck at odd intervals over the years, often during a moment of crisis. In the movies this sort of character is known as the Fifth Business."
I would add that in real life the Fifth Business character often takes on different faces. But one thing seems to be true, he shows up unexpectedly and his intentions often seem to be for no other reason then to derail your little red buggy from whatever happy path you have set it on.
In August of this year, long before I knew I was going to run into a Fifth Business character, I started a new job. I was quite joyous about it because not only would it bring a decent income in to help unstall our business, it was the first job I had held since being hospitalized over a year before and all the subsequent out-patient surgeries and of just feeling like I was never going to physically feel good again. And in all honesty, the day I took the position, I still only felt about 80%. I knew I was still weak, my stamina was no where near what it used to be and for the first month after starting, I came home and collapsed into bed by eight o'clock each evening. But I was a happy camper because the job was exactly what I needed. I was outside all day long, walking around with a clipboard and a measuring tape and talking to a variety of people from all over our area. I walked and walked and got sun-tanned and healthy again. It was exactly what I needed.
In late October my husband was diagnosed with a 90% blocked carotid artery. Surgery was scheduled asap. So, yeah, we were a bit in crisis mode. Suddenly I was faced with a date where my husband may or may not still be around. The date was the week before Thanksgiving. The date came, the surgery was done, not without it complications which I won't bore you with here, and his recovery was fast, smooth and remarkable. Also a little annoying because my health problems had put me flat on my back, so to speak, for nearly a year. He gets his throat cut and is feeling pretty much fine a week later. But all was well, and I was a very happy camper.
Then a week before Christmas, the Fifth Business Joker popped out of the deck (why are all the crises just before holidays?) And a more bizarre Joker probably could not be found. A co-worker I was subordinate to decided to reveal to me a shocking confession (which I will withhold details as I still don't know the truth of it) and concluded by threatening my and one of my co-worker's lives by name, and included three others in our group with a general 'and the guys I'll take out with a baseball bat'.
Did I report this conversation? Hell, yeah. Anyone heard of the words "workplace violence"? Does everyone really think that all those instances came out of the blue without any warning whatsoever? I reported it to the company and to the police. The result? I'm sitting at home waiting to start another position with another company (starting date Jan 5th) and he's still working.
Sometimes, maybe most times, the Joker wins. He had told me "you can't prove it" and as I was the only one to be privvy to both his confession and his threats, he was right. I couldn't prove it. But I sure couldn't work there anymore because I knew what I heard and I knew he wasn't kidding around when he said it.
This left me and my entire family in quite a bind. I filed the police report with no more expectation of at least starting a paper trail, and maybe they could do a little background digging and see if he really did what he confessed to me of doing in the past. But there was no doubt that I had turned him in as both HR and the police were contacting him and asking questions. Of which he did confirm that he said what he said, but that he "was just joking around." It may just be me, but being told the who and the how seems pretty specific for a joke. He only left out the when and the where. But evidently all he got was, "Good ol' Joe (not his real name) he's such a gagster!" and a "Carry-on soldier, the threatening of your co-workers is tolerated and no big deal within this organization."
Meanwhile, me and my family spent our holidays in full lock down mode at our home. Fun. At least I was probably under less stress than my fellow co-workers who still had to actually work with the guy who thought bashing their heads in with a baseball bat was all in good fun.
I knew as soon as I notified the company and the police that I really had a unresolvable problem on my hands. How long and how hard would the guy hold a grudge if he were fired? Even if, as the case turned out, he wasn't fired - not even suspended until a thorough investigation could be made? We're always told to forgive our enemies, and I normally find that very possible to do. Not always easy, but I usually get there. But I started praying for my enemy, because i came to the realization that the ONLY way resolution could come is if my enemy had Someone bigger than him working in his heart. It was a shocking confession he made to me, but it was a confession. And confession is the first step to reconciliation with our One True God. May Jesus reach out to him and may he find the love and warmth that Christ offers for any sinner who repents, no matter how large the sin.
Perhaps that is why the confession was made to me. Because God knew that through my fear, confusion, shock and yes, anger, I would get to where I needed to be, and pray for my enemy.
In Christ, may you all have a happy new year.