5/13/10 "Jose", 17
While out for a run I saw three teens hanging out on a low fence. They looked like they had some time on their hands so I stopped to talk. "Hey, I have a crazy question for you. What do you think happens after this life? What's on the other side after we step off this planet?" The first guy said he believes in some sort of afterlife, but doesn't want to offend anyone so he doesn't talk about it. He said he's content to just live one day at a time "since I can't change the future anyway". I challenged him on this, comparing the shortness of this present life to eternity and wondering if the possibility of eternal life might be something worth talking about. It was a struggle trying to engage these three in conversation. I think they were each worried about what the other was thinking. The first guy eventually claimed he didn't believe in God and he answered a phone call and wandered away. The second, a girl, listened for a while but never said anything and also wandered away, leaving me to talk with Jose (really Jesus but I'll call him Jose to avoid confusion). Jose had quietly stated he believes in God in front of his friends, but didn't really open up until after they left. He felt he had been close to God through faith in Christ years earlier when he lived with his mother, whom he described as "born again", but since moving in with his Catholic father he has neglected the things of God. He is heavily into sports, having played on Chicago's city champion basketball team, and said he is very busy and doesn't have enough time for God at this point in his life, yet he also said he knew this was no excuse. "Do you have time for TV?" I asked. He knew where I was going with this. He considered our conversation to be a wake-up call, and said he had stayed around to hear what I had to say because he knew God had something to tell him.