Our Guy in the Field

Hey. I’m back.

If you missed me, I’m sorry. Actually, if you missed me I’m pretty happy about it.

It’s nice to be missed. Sometimes.

Sometimes it’s nice to miss. Sometimes it’s a waste of time.

So, you know, if I miss you it’s either nice or it’s a waste of my time. But, even if it is a waste of time, thanks for everything you taught me. And that fantastic experience we shared. And the book you gave me. And that amazing conversation we had until the next morning. Seriously, you added something to my life. I mean it.

Anyway, that’s not what I’m going to talk about. I’m going to talk about last week’s parsha: Vayeshev (Bereshit [Genesis] 37:1 – 40:23)

I know. It was last week. Sometimes we need to miss things though. I miss last week’s parsha. I mean I’m not clinging to it, but it’s nice to think about. Even this week. Probably next week too. It’s just a nice thing to bring along.

Because of the guy in the field.

In last week’s parsha, we met Yoseph: He received his special tunic (Rashi says it was made from nice wool, not many-colored), he dreams dreams, and his brothers hate him. Then, despite the fact that they hate him, Yaakov sends him off to see how these hateful brothers are doing with pasturing the family’s flock. So Yoseph heads out to find them, but something happens along the way:

 .וַיִּמְצָאֵהוּ אִישׁ, וְהִנֵּה תֹעֶה בַּשָּׂדֶה; וַיִּשְׁאָלֵהוּ הָאִישׁ לֵאמֹר, מַה-תְּבַקֵּשׁ
A man found him; there he was, wandering in the field. And the man asked him “What are you looking for?” 

It’s just this guy. In the field.

What’s he even doing in the field? Is he looking for Yoseph? Does he even know what he’s doing there? Did he wake up that morning and think: “I should really head out to the field”? We don’t know his name or his job.

We don’t know anything about him except that he’s this guy in the field. And Yoseph tells him that he’s looking for his brothers, who are supposed to be there with the flock. And he tells Yoseph that he heard his brothers say that they were going to Dotan.

So Yoseph heads to Dotan where he finds his brothers and they throw him into a  pit and then sell him into slavery. He’s taken to Egypt and then there’s Potiphar and his wife; and the prison; and the baker and the butler and their dreams.

And all this moving towards really big things happening for Yoseph. For everyone.

All because of that guy. In the field. Who pointed Yoseph exactly where he needed to go. And we don’t even know his name.

The other day when I was waiting for the train, I was wearing my Twins hat and this guy asked if I’m from Minnesota. I am. Turns out he is too.

So we talked about all sorts of things. Driving on frozen lakes. Northern Lights Records Seeing bands at the Uptown Bar. The CC Club in general. The bad kids from the rich school district. Getting in to fights. Our kids. How our kids might not get to do the things we did because they aren’t growing up in Minnesota and also because the world is just different.

I know. I’m old, I guess.

Then, pretty much out of nowhere, this guy says this:

“You know when I think about it, as glad as I am that my kids won’t do the things I did, I’m happy I did them. Aren’t you? I mean, didn’t doing those things…even getting the shit kicked out of you…didn’t they make you less afraid? Isn’t being afraid the worst thing in the world?”

 I needed to hear that.

I needed to hear that because I miss you.

Really, I do. I miss you a lot and it’s not always nice. And that’s because I’m afraid.

I’m afraid I will never meet anyone else like you. Even though I have met someone since you. And since her. And since her. And even since her. And I’ll meet someone again. And I’m afraid when I do it will go all wrong. That I’ll screw it up with my fear. That I’ll get myself in a pit.

I’m afraid of a phantom. It’s just me deciding to be afraid of those things.

Because, having had the shit kicked out of me before, I know what it’s like and that I don’t really need to hold onto that fear. I can even turn missing you into something nice again.

And I know this because of the guy in the train station. Or the field. Or wherever.

Because he pointed me in the right direction. And I know this because Yoseph got out of the pit.