This story came to me after a conversation I had with someone special. I love to be challenged and to think out of the box. If you like it... let me know and I might write a Chapter 2.
Survival of the Fittest!
"Only the strongest will survive." His hands gripped the steering wheel tightly as if to make a point. "Survival of the fittest!" He grinned. He was trying to get her goat.
"He's trying to make me upset like he used to... Well, I'm not a little girl anymore." she made up her mind not to fight tonight.
She hadn't seen Spencer in 20 years. She had really been looking forward to this date... sort of date... perhaps more like a dinner and coffee to catch up on 20 years but now, she just wanted to go home.
"What about compassion? What about us as human beings helping one and other to grow strong together?" she asked. She knew this was a one sided conversation. If he was anything like she remembered, Spencer was playing the devil's advocate.
She had been in love with Spencer 20 years ago, when they were in youth group together, and after seeing him again after all these years she realized she still loved him... Devil's advocate and all... She just wasn't in the mood to debate the meaning of life tonight.
"The compassionate are weak and will soon die out of society. The tough will survive." She could feel the hairs in the back of her neck start to prick up.
"Grace!.... Maggie. Don't get yourself all riled up." she spoke to the little voice within. "Boy, is he good." she patted her skirt flat to delay her answer and collect herself.
"And yet, not even 2 hours ago... right after you picked me up... you stopped along the side of the road to help that lady change her flat tire?" she reminded him, "Your actions do not run parallel with the words coming out of your mouth!" Bugger, she was getting upset again... "deep breath Maggie."
"Being friendly and helpful, just makes life better and my clan or my family grows stronger." then he beat his fist against his chest, "UGGGG... me strong pack leader!" He laughed. Maggie shook her head.
"It's not out of love or compassion that people... that I do this.... It's for the betterment of my clan... Homo sapiens have been doing this for millions of years. There is a time for war and a time for peace... it has nothing to do with God... it's for the survival of our species."
"What the heck has happened to you?" She thought, as the wiper blades squeaked back and forth, the screech as irritating as mosquito's buzzing in her ear.
"Twenty years ago you were singing Hallelujah and Praising God... What changed Spence?" with a deep sigh she looked at him and watched the lights, of the on coming traffic, reflect off his romanesque face and his dark wavy hair. Gosh, he had grown into a very handsome man. How could she say good-bye to him again?
There was an awkward silence, as he thought about her words, and searched his past for answers. She turned away and stared out the passenger window into the darkness.
"I'm attracted to his physical looks.... but....I can't live on looks alone... what happened to his inside beauty?" She thought, as the darkness past by. He was going to go to college and become a youth pastor and counsellor. Help kids who lived in abusive homes. He was going to change the world. Now, he wants to convert her to atheism.
During dinner, Maggie found out he did go to college and become a youth counsellor. He worked in foster care, counseling kids from abusive homes. He'd seen so much. So many kids with out love.
" You know what's happened to me Mags?" He remembered her nick name. Spence and Mags had known one and other since kindergarten. They lived in the same cul de sac, their mom's were best friends and they attended the same church sunday school.
His dog was named Maggie and one day he called her, as if she were his dog, she refused.
" I will only answer to princess of the world." she said in her 7 year old hoity-toity voice as she stood on top of his older brother's new tires for a 1982 Mustang.
" Oh mighty and honorable miss stinkcess. Will you cometh hither." He replied and bowed, then jumped on top of the tires to push her off.
"Get off my new Mags, you two." Rick called out from the garage. Since then, the nick name 'Mags' just kind of stuck.
He stopped for a red light and looked at her. "I grew up Mags." he shook his head. "You're still so innocent.... after all these years.... you haven't been touched by the harsh reality's of life." He sighed deeply. " Three years ago I found my wife of five years in bed with another man."
"It wasn't the 1st time she cheated on me," the light turned green and Spencer continued," She had been cheating for two years... with different men." he murmured barely a whisper, "I was too naive to notice. Living in Lotus land." She felt his pain. Couldn't believe that someone could do this to him. He was a great guy, and she remembered him as being an amazing friend; open, honest, confident even as a tweenie. Maggie had dreams of marrying him when she was 17, but then he and his family moved away to Calgary when she was 12.
" I was so disgusted with women... with life... that I did something.... " she was expecting him to say that he slept around. A normal Male emotional physical response. She studied a little counseling herself at Trinity University in Langley B.C, 12 years ago, but then decided to follow her heart and she became a writer.
"I got a vasectomy." she thought he was joking, then his eyes clouded over and she knew he was telling the truth. " I don't want innocent children to be brought up in this horrible world. I've worked with too many unwanted kids."
"As much as this world is a terrible place there is still good in it." she gently touched his hand. "Like you... for helping those kids.... You can't lose hope Spence." He looked intensely at her as if wanting to share more but didn't dare, wanting to trust her but couldn't.
"It's in the past," he shook his head as if to shake the painful memory away. "Anyway, why can't I be a good person for the sake of just wanting to do good? I don't need to rely on an illusion of an entity who lives up in heaven and is supposedly 'taking care' of me and loves me. It's crap."
"No it's not." she replied, the compassion she felt a moment ago, turned to irritation once more. Love and hope were worth fighting for.
"It is Maggie! You are so naive! In another 100 years, religion will totally die off and the strongest will be alive.... We evolved as a species through our strengths... the weak die off... That's life... those looking after their own clan... procreating more offspring... that's what life is about! The more I spread my seed.... the more my genes spread forward and become stronger."
"Hmmmmph" She replied, " I guess your life is meaningless now!" He glanced at her confused, not understanding where she was going with this argument. ".... because." she continued. "You're neutered!" He finally got to her.... he got her goat.... once those words were out of her mouth she knew she had said them in anger... where was that grace she was supposed to be filled with?... if only there was a way of going back into time.
"You're right Mags. I should just throw myself in front of that bus right now." he sighed.
"Oh! What have I gotten myself into?" Her heart beat pounded against her chest. "Thank goodness we were almost home." she thought as tears pricked her eyes.
"Have you ever seen the movie 'The world According to Garp'?" He asked her smiling again. The tension eased.
"I can't recall." she said dabbing a stray tear nonchalantly, "It's an old movie?"
"Robin Williams played Garp."
"Oh yeah, it was that weird movie he was in."
"Yeah," he recalled, "In one of Garp's lives he was a slave in a Roman's home..... this Roman official had to kill himself... it was his duty... I can't remember why.... but Garp was walking behind him with a piece of papyrus saying, 'Please sign this 1st sir... so I can be free.' The Roman was in such distress he didn't hear Garp.... focused only on doing what he had to do. Running around his home carrying a knife and repeated saying, 'I can't do it.... I can't kill myself.' He trips on the stairs and impales himself with the knife he was carrying and lay dead at the bottom...." another red stop light. Then he looked at her and said, " I am that Roman Mags. I know my life has no more use.... and I'm too afraid to kill myself." She was stunned. She couldn't speak.
"That's a pretty sad place to be." All throughout dinner he joked and laughed as if he had no cares in the world but now? Is this what he really thinks? or is he playing 'Devil's Advocate' again?
"His argument is with God... not me." She thought as they pulled up into the driveway of her apartment block. She didn't want to say good-by to him just yet. It didn't feel right to leave on this note.
"Do you want to come up for coffee?" she listened to that little voice deep within her. He hesitated a moment and a frown passed over his face.
"Just a coffee and a talk." she reiterated. "It doesn't feel right to say good-bye like this."
"You're right... Okay.. I'll come up."
They left the car in the visitor parking lot an walked up to her building 'The Lilloet' in North Vancouver. It was a warm winter evening. The Christmas lights were still up around the pond and fountain, even in February, for the Vancouver Olympics.
"Mags?" they stopped walking and were waiting for the elevator.
"Our discussion tonight?" He asked looking down at his shoes.
"Is it going to end up in one of your magazine articles?" He knew she wrote for a daily column in a local newspaper called 'Acts of Faith' and a few of her articles were in Christianity Today and the Faith Magazine.
"Yup." she looked slyly at him from the corner of her eye. He shook his head and blushed.
"Figures." he laughed, "Can you do me a favour?"
"Can you not use my real name?" he pleaded.
"Done." she grinned. The elevator door opened, she felt a mischievous urge take over, "If that was what I believed.... I wouldn't want my name attached to it either." and she jumped in the elevator as Spence lashed out to punch her arm. He got in and she pressed for the 8th floor. They were in stitches, laughing the way they used to twenty years ago, as the elevator door closed.
An email to Spencer from Maggie:
02 March, 2010
I believe in hope
I believe in love
I believe in grace
I believe in compassion
I believe in God
and I also believe that these are strengths and not weaknesses, and that I am a stronger human animal with them, then I am without them.
We are infants in our knowledge about everything. Our scientific knowledge has barely scraped the surface of the whole knowledge of the universe. Everything is still theories, we are still learning. Who can prove there is a spiritual realm? Who can prove there is not?No one.
Don't let the darkness of world views prevent you from being the best human being you can be. The world covers our lives with obscurity and shadows, God fills our lives with light and clarity. This is a truth that I have experienced. It would be selfish of me to keep this truth to myself.
1 Corinthians 13:13
So these three things continue forever: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.
I had a really great time while you were here in Vancouver. Next month, I'll be in Edmonton for a book signing and talk. Did you still want to meet?
If you have your own questions about the meaning of life or just want to know what happens to Spencer and Maggie, leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alpha Course - Maple Ridge - April 13th