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In that moment, Paul reconsidered walking home. He shut his eyes, taking deep, slow breaths to try and reign his anger in. Lashing out wouldn’t do any good. 

“How do you know what I’m thinking and feeling?” Paul asked. 

Nobody didn’t answer. 

“I’m close to figuring out how you teleport,” Paul continued, “but that doesn’t explain how you always know.”

“You’re close to figuring out teleportation?” Nobody sounded more curious than nervous.

“Yeah,” Paul said. “I’m very close.”

“That would be impressive,” Nobody said. 

“And so all that’s left is to figure out how you’ve always known what I was thinking or feeling, and it’s not just that you’ve been in a similar situation or something like that. You’ve demonstrated knowledge of the actual thoughts in my head in the moments I was thinking them.”

“I can’t read your mind, Paul,” Nobody said. 

“Don’t lie to me!” Paul shouted. 

“I’m not lying, but wether or not you believe me is a choice you have to make,” Nobody replied. “But since I’m right about how you feel for Lidia, then consider where this path might lead.”

“We worked it out,” Paul said.

Nobody didn’t turn to look at Paul, but it was easy to see his head shake. “There isn’t some sort of group agreement one can make to control his own heart. If you resent him for dating her, and her for taking his friendship away, you’ll inevitably come to hate them both.”

“No I won’t,” Paul said. 

“If you say so,” Nobody said. 

“Jordan is my best friend,” Paul said. “We’ve been friends forever.”

“And now Lidia, a woman you suddenly want, is taking more of his time,” Nobody said.

“They’re getting married,” Paul said. “It’s not like we were never going to get married. But it’s  possible to have friends and be married. People do it all the time.”

“It is possible,” Nobody said, “if you’re willing to give up the idea that you own them.”

Paul sat in silence. He had always thought of the people in his life as his in a way. His mother. His friend. The man who should have been his father. 

“So people aren’t supposed to care about others,” Paul finally said.

Nobody let out an odd chuckle. “Christians are commanded to love their neighbors.”

“That’s all I want,” Paul said.

“No it isn’t,” Nobody said. “Consider this question, ‘What is love?’”

Paul sputtered for a few moments. “It’s love. It’s wanting to be around people.”

Nobody shook his head again. “In every reference to love in the Bible, every single one of them is tied to one of three things: Obedience, patience, and sacrifice. God the Father loved us so much, he gave his only son. God the Son, Jesus Christ, loved us so much he laid down his life for us, and he loved the Father so much he obeyed the commands of the Father. The one thing love is never about, is the individual. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. First Corinthians 13, Versus four to seven. Of course that first part was John.”

“Always the Bible,” Paul didn’t bother hiding the derision. 

“Of course,” Nobody said, “but is that definition so horrible? Think of your mother or Jordan. Aren’t they wonderful examples of that definition of love?”

“What’s Jordan giving up for me?” Paul was shocked the words came out of his mouth, but he couldn’t stop them from pouring out. “He’s leaving me. He’s probably leaving the project, and to top it all off he’s taking Lidia with him!”

“And the center of every one of those accusations is you,” Nobody said. “And if you continue thinking in that manner, you’ll only come to hate those two people, one who has ever been loyal and steadfast to you and the other who would support you if you thought of her as anything more than an object of lust.”

“So I’m doomed!” Paul said. “I’m just some wicked, selfish, angry man who is going to end up hating everyone. So why are you here? Why did you ever visit me? Why do you keep pestering me?”

“To show you that you don’t have to be doomed,” Nobody answered.

“I just have to obey a God who has no problems taking,” Paul said.

“He takes,” Nobody said, “and he gives. People tend to focus on the taking, but we wouldn’t have so many wonderful things unless He hadn’t given them first.”

… to be continued …

14 thoughts on “Visits From A Man Named Nobody 61

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