Jon is a friend of mine . To most, he is slow, in the intelligence department. He can come off as irritating, a loner, and even as someone a bit scary, if you look at him in the wrong light. He is always wanting to talk with you, and never wanting to let the conversation end. He asks one hundred questions in five minutes, and wants an answer. Oh yeah, if you don’t give him the answer, he’ll ask it again, and again, and again. He is the fastest questioner I have ever listened to. Jon doesn't have many friends, and where he works, they make fun of him.
I don’t know why Jon is like this, but I have to admit, I love him. Yes, he can seem irritating, and answering one hundred questions when I am in a hurry is no one’s idea of fun. Yet I can’t help but see him in a different light. I see him as a child, and when I do, I see such joy, such openness, and such willingness to share with everyone, that it amazes me how people could see him as only irritating.
Jon is a member of my Friday night Boy’s club, which is currently on hiatus. He rarely opens his mouth while we are all gathered, but afterwards, oh, Jon loves to talk with me, and with anyone, really, about their life, and about the things we discussed.
The amazing thing about Jon is, I have never, not even once, heard him offer to talk about himself. Most people will start a conversation asking you about your day, or how things are going, and the moment you answer, they are already telling you about themselves, and how hard it is for them. Jon never does this. In fact, unless I force him to tell me how he is doing, and what things are happening in his life, he will not offer it. I cannot remember a single time he has ever told me anything about his life without being asked. Sometimes, it almost seems like a game, like a contest of wills, to see if I can get Jon to talk about himself, and he fights it by asking more questions about me. It's really something to see.
Some people run away from Jon when they see him, and I admit, sometimes, it would be easier if I didn’t get tied down in a conversation where I am answering questions faster than Ted Koppel can ask them. But knowing all of that, every time I see Jon, I’ll say hi, knowing what’s coming, because I love him, and he is infectious with his joy.
Some people say Jon is slow, that he has a condition that causes him to be somewhat addled in the brain. But I’ll tell you this, Jon remembers everything he is told. He can come up to me, and recite word for word something I said last year. He remembers what I said better than I do. And facts!! Jon can tell you every single thing he has ever learned, he remembers it all. In Jon, I think we have a genius who doesn’t know he is a genius. He has sharp eyes, and he looks directly into your eyes when you speak. You KNOW he is listening.
Yet there are other facts about Jon that set him apart. I have never heard him gossip about someone else. He just won’t do it, and with him, it’s like he doesn’t even have to try not to do it. Jon might be called special in schools.
I’d have to agree with that assessment, but not for the same reasons the schools would call him special. He may have a social dysfunction, as some people claim. But to me, Jon is just fine.
I don’t think I will ever meet someone as selfless as him. To understand how selfless he is, you’d have to watch how hard I have to try to get him to talk about himself. It’s like in his mind, he doesn’t exist. I have heard recently of someone challenging people to go for a day without saying the words “I”, “me”, or “my”. (Can’t recall who said that). In Jon, I have someone who wouldn’t even have to try, it’s just the natural state of being for him.
So if Jon irritates people because he asks a lot of questions, I guess I can understand why they might say he has a social dysfunction. But I’ll tell you this. If someone comes to me, and starts talking about Jon’s dysfunction, I might just punch them in the throat, and end it for them. Because, if truth be known, I’d rather hang around Jon, than hang around someone who would slander the most joy filled, selfless adult I have ever met.
Jon is a child of God, and you don’t have to spend more than a minute with him to see it. How many people can say that about themselves? I know I can't.