2015 Lent 12


Jeremiah 2:1-13

Facebook is an interesting modern-day phenomenon.  Through it I’ve been able to rekindle many friendships from an earlier time in my life.  Just recently, for instance, a girl I’ve known since before kindergarten shared a scanned photo of the two of us in spiffy 70s garb sitting on a curb, waiting for the school bus to pick us up and transport us to first grade.

It’s also good for making virtual friendships: introducing friends from one time in life to friends from another through common interests, though the one has never actually met the other in person.  I wondered today, in fact, at three of my friends–none of whom had ever met each other; all of whom I’d met during different stages in my life–conversing (nonetheless) with me and each other over our common interest in motorcycles.

But what about those old friends who aren’t a part of it, this social networking phenomenon?

I don’t know about you, but my heartstrings are tugged by these rekindlings.  A memory comes to mind from a friend’s post that somehow involves me.  This memory triggers other, almost unrelated memories; which trigger others still, until I’m asking myself something like, “Gee, I wonder how Greg’s doing?”  And so I try to find out.

Now, when old friends are not on Facebook, (at the risk of sounding like a stalker) there are other means of tracking them down.  Google, for instance.

So I typed my old friend’s name into Google–a name I’m not going to reveal, for reasons I now make known–only to see some mugshots pop up under “Images for Greg Blanketyblank.”

Yeah, mugshots!

Well, you can bet I clicked on those mugshots.  I wanted to find out what my former bestie had been up to, after all.

But I wish I hadn’t.

The first mugshot was actually a double.  That is, it was a picture of my old friend and another man, about twenty years younger.

The caption beneath this double mugshot read something like: “Greg Blanketyblank and his son Blanketyblankson were arrested after police confiscated 61 marijuana plants from their house.  Bail is set at $20,000 for Greg.  His son was released after questioning.”  It was dated some time in 2013.

And I said, “Oh, Greg, you dipstick!”

Then I decided to click on the other mugshot, a single this time, of Greg only.  Curiously, it was dated just a week prior, early 2015.

Again, though, I wish I hadn’t.

For this time the caption read, “Greg Blanketyblank was arrested for soliciting a woman supposed by him to be a prostitute.”  But–doh!–she was actually an undercover cop.  Bail was posted at $1,500 and, apparently, no one had yet bailed him out.

“Dang you, Greg!” (or something like it) I exclaimed.

We’d had a lot of good times together.  There was one summer in particular: I was freshly armed with a driver’s license and we had ample free time.  We spent a lot of time at the beach that summer, loving our simple, irresponsible lives.  Usually our adventures included several friends along for the ride.  But the driving force was our duo.

It saddened me that we would never have these adventures again.  It saddened me even more that now my old friend was sitting in jail.  He once had known the prospect of an exciting life ahead of him, a new adventure to face just beyond adolescence; a kind of glory.  Now he sat in jail enduring an unprofitable season (perhaps an understatement).

Whether he still sits in jail now or not, I don’t know.  I have yet to be in contact with my old friend.  I hope it will happen someday.  And I hope he will return to a more glorious and profitable season, to a way of life he’s already known.  But I don’t know.

What I do know is that my heart aches for my old friend, much like Jeremiah the Prophet’s must have ached for Israel, a people who had “changed their glory for something that does not profit.”


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