If every year is an episode from a sitcom, 2006 for me would be titled "Hurting Men".
I have no idea why it is so, but in a span of 8 months, I met 3 of such men. Has the Lord send them my way for a reason, a season or a lifetime? What was the purpose of placing me in their paths - to be a friend in need, a listening ear, or a passing cloud? Or maybe, a solace-filled resting stop?
James was first in line. He's got 4 girlfriends, who left him for one of two reasons. It's either his job, or for some other men. The last one was a single parent with a kid. He was with her for 5 years, gave her all his time and heart, took care of her kid and loved him like his own. She dumped him for an Aussie and totally crushed him inside out. When I met him, he was still reeling from the pain. I could only provide a listening ear, and a place for him to rest and heal without having to feel obligated to me. And so I did, before he checked out for Qatar.
Then I met Ronin. I call him an educated Ah-Beng. He's so not your sensitive new age guy like James. He's gruff, he's nonchalant, he's got a whole slew of Hokkien profanities in his vocabulary. But he also speaks very well, is effectively bilingual and has a kind heart. He's funny too, but beneath all that, his hurt ran so deep that he became totally non-commital to anyone. He came home from work one day, and saw his best friend and his girl friend making out in his house, in his bedroom, on his bed. Triple betrayal. What can I say? Ronin, unlike James, hardly confides. He puts on this air of nonchalance, and takes life each day as it comes. He does not need love nor a listening ear. He just wants company. And he found Hotel Solace in me - checking in and out whenever he pleases, for a good laugh or a simple dinner.
Hotel Solace received a 3rd guest recently. Danny checked in many months ago, with baggages loaded with issues. The struggles rendered him hopeless, and he checked out the day after, dragging with him the burdens that he came with and did not appear again until a few weeks ago. He faced similar issues as the two men above, and needed to take a vacation, but Hotel Solace proved to be quite a challenge for him. Or so he claims. Why? Because I am Hotel Solace, and in this case, it would be easier for him to rise beyond his problems if I was just a passing cloud. Checking in for a second time, his suitcase seems lighter. But I've got a feeling - a hunch, that his issues are yet to be fully resolved. I can feel his angst beneath his tough exterior, and the hopelessness in his smile. Somehow I know, that those issues are merely swept under an expensive pool table. But if that is his form of closure, who am I to question?
I will just be the friend in need, standing by the reception counter - for him and all other hurting men that the Lord has placed in my life. Why? Like I said before - I have no idea.