Bad company comes from poor or bad judgement. In a moment of weakness, we embrace the border-line and sometimes dangerous, just to lay claim to company. Solitude can heal a host of troubles. It gives us time to relax, recollect, re-group and re-gather. Good company allows us to express who we are at our best. Good company keeps us from bad company. I prefer the latter, any day interspersed with moment of solitude.
There is this old man I met a while ago. Old enough to be my father, always mentioning his family in glowing terms, happy that he invested some time in his children’s lives, with a loving wife to support him. A year ago, I ran into him, we exchanged greetings and on inquiring of his lovely family, his expression changed. He spoke with anger and resentment that his offspring failed to heed his instructions in life and follow his best laid plans.
Surprised, I looked at this fine gentlemen in his late seventies and wondered what had changed. He rambled on with more unkind words and I had to interrupt him, as I noticed his companions grinning alongside him. I asked to be introduced and Old Man obliged, flattering his rather young friends in the sweetest words I had ever heard him utter. He offered to walk with me into the garden to his wife’s table and as we walked, I asked whom these new-found ‘shiny’ friends were.
Old Man said, “why? they are my new and very accommodating friends”. The age difference of thirty and forty years struck me. As we approached his wife’s table, she rose to greet us, a little more troubled than I had ever seen her before. Old Man left and went back indoors, his gait giving away his years.
Old Lady leaned across the table and offered, “he spends too much time with those young drunks and crooks. He is chasing his youth in them and they are chasing away the little cash he has left!” My heart sank at the news and Old Lady changed the topic, as we sipped iced tea on the front lawn. The laughter of Old Man and the cackling of the Young Ones drifted out into the fresh clean air, filling it with the filth of their intent. Poor Old Man, he had no idea that the birds of carrion were circling his person at this very time.
We talked some more and interspersed every area of our discussion with prayer, trusting the Holy Spirit would show the hearts of the Young Ones. I learned Old Man’s children no longer visited with their father, choosing to pray and stay away. Old Lady prayed with their friends. My husband and I prayed for them together.
This year, I have seen even less of the older couple. A few days ago, I met with Old Lady and she shared great news. The Young Ones had ventured into business with Old Man. Quite suddenly things started to falter. Reports of regular and unabashed misappropriation of funds came true. Old Man had outsmarted them and God allowed the truth to surface in full glare of their un-charmed public. A war of words and in-fighting began. The last I heard, they had to sell of the assets to repay Old Man’s investment, after a very public court case.
Old Lady and I sat in her garden in full bloom, sipping a celebratory glass of perfectly chilled wine and contemplating our next prayer battle front! We laughed and declared God’s goodness all around. Their grown children back home, blessed once more and reunited with Old Man. Tears flowed, forgives shared and laughter roared. We are once more, safely back home!