By Stephen Altrogge
The party was at John’s house, and I was really looking forward to it. I had been sick all week with the nasty mother-in-law of all colds, and I desperately needed to get out of the house. I needed to get away from a screen and interact with some real people.
“Hey, welcome!” said John, as I entered his house. He lovingly poked me in the stomach, then laughed out loud to himself. “Good to see you’re finally getting out of the house!”
“Tell me about it!” I said.
He came up beside me and whispered, “I’ve been wanting to show you something. Check these out.” He handed me a stack of printed photos. At first I couldn’t really tell what I was seeing. Everything appeared blurry and old. Then I realized that all the photos were low quality pictures of coffee cups. “All the coffee I’ve drank over the past two weeks,” said Carl proudly. “Pretty great, aren’t they?”
“I love these!” I said. “I’ve been wanting to see what you’ve been drinking the past two weeks.” I pulled a Sharpie out of my back pocket and drew a heart on each picture I liked.
As we walked into the living room, a group of my friends were standing in a circle. My one friend, James, said, “Man, today was one of those days when I could not WAIT to get out of work.”
“I like that,” said Nick.
“I like that too,” said Jenna. “I wish I could double like it.”
John said, “I like that, and I have a comment to make. When I’m having a rough day at work, I like to remember that quote by Abraham Lincoln: ‘The only thing to fear is fear itself’.”
“Ooooh, let me say that too,” said Jenna. “Attention everyone! The only thing to fear, is fear itself. C.S. Lewis said that.”
There was an explosion of laughter from another corner of the room. A group of people were huddled around something, doubled over in laughter, wiping tears from their eyes. “What’s so funny?” I asked.
“Dude, check out this cat!” said Erin. A small, brown cat, sat on the floor, trying to bite it’s tail. “Isn’t that hysterical? I’m laughing my butt off!” she howled. She jumped up into the air, kicked her legs out from under her, and landed directly on her rear end.
I scanned the room, and noticed my friend Vito sitting on the couch by himself, talking to himself. I managed to overhear what he was saying: “Saw the new Batman movie – meh. This Jello is awful. I’m taking a drink of my Coke right now. Can’t wait for school to be over!” Apparently no one cared much about what Vito had to say.
Susan, who I barely knew, came up to me, gestured to the room, and said, “All the lonely people, where do they all come from?”
“What?” I said, perplexed.
“Look at all these young kids with their pumped up kicks. Rumor has it that John would take a grenade for Erin, but she wouldn’t do it for him.”
“What the heck are you talking about?” I said.
Susan turned and studied my face. “You seem like someone I used to know.” Confused, I walked away.
Carl, who was my pastor, sauntered over to me, holding a cup of coffee.
“Hey Carl!” I said. “What’s up?”
“All have fallen short of the glory of God,” he said. “When God shuts a door he opens a window. God so loved the world that he gave his only son. Grace is getting what we don’t deserve.” Carl went on like this for three straight minutes, then abruptly walked out of the room.
“Everyone come outside right now,” shouted Jenna. “You have got to see this!” We all hurried outside. Jenna was staring intently at her phone. “Everyone gather round,” she said. “You have got to see this picture of the moon I just took.”
It was then that I decided to leave.