Home > hitchhiking, religeon > Up North part 11: the final chapter

Up North part 11: the final chapter

I grabbed some Taco Bell, got oriented and was on a bus to Lansing in short order. After a short walk I was home. I showered, put on some clean clothes and started to walk down town. I was struck by how I was a man on a walk and no longer a vagabond. When I started walking up Capitol the point was really sent home when a gent with silver hair past the collar of his denim jacket approached me. “Excuse me,” he said. “I just got into Lansing and I’m trying to get some heat for the family, do you have any change?”

An hour ago I would have said, “I was just going to ask you the same thing,” but instead I reach into my pocket. Coming up empty I said “I don’t, but I’ll be coming back this way.” His eyes turn away before I am finished. I continued my walk to the florist and order Amee flowers for her new job. It was one of my pre-trip errands I just didn’t get too. The florist was really nice and promised me a nice arrangement, Gerber Daisies and wildflowers in Fall colors, no carnations.

My errand done I strolled back Capitol. I didn’t spy my sparechanger where I left him, but I looked up the block and saw him copping a squat with a buddy eating a sandwich and drinking a soda. I walked up the block and handed him a dollar, from my right pocket, enjoying the look of frank surprise on his face. “I told you I’d be back.”

“You must be a Christian, aren’t you?” he said as he got up to talk to me, eye to eye.

“I’ve been accused of that,” I said letting my internal grin shine through.

“I knew it. I have a verse for you, Acts 16:31, maybe you know it. It’s when Paul is in prison and is freed by the angels and the jailer asks what must I do to be saved? And Paul says, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, thee and thy house.’ Now I take my house to mean my parents, my wife, and three children, even though I don’t see them. I know that this is at least something I can do for them.”

I am struck dumb by his sudden openness, his sincerity. I think of my own ‘house’ shaken as it is and I can only nod. Then I thought of another ‘house’ and the power of the prayers of beggars in the Rabbinical tradition I had been reading about up north and I asked. “Will you say a prayer for me? There’s a boy who fell in a river last night. They haven’t found the body and I know it would bring peace to that family if they find their boy. At least then they’d know. Will you pray for them?”

“Right now?” he asked. 

I looked around suddenly aware we are standing on a crowded downtown sidewalk. “Yeah, now would be good.”

We clasp hands as brothers. “Dear Heavenly Father…” I quickly lose track of the words, journeying on in my own thoughts and my own prayers and my own gods but joined to this man, beggar no longer, but a gifted and beautiful man of God who I am honored to know for this short time. He calls on the God of the Bible and His Son Jesus Christ that this boy shall be found and peace come to his house, his family.

We open our eyes after the amen and just look at each other feeling the magic. I was the first to break away and release his hands. I reached into my left pocket and took out the last of my money. “Here’s another ten to give it power”.

Again that astonished smile. “God bless you”, and I know She has, just as I knew before I read it in the paper the next day that the boy is found this afternoon. For there is power in prayer, inexplicable, miraculous and comforting. As I walked away I offered a prayer for my new friend. To see a paper tomorrow and to know his own worth. To believe in his power. To inherit the earth.

The End

Categories: hitchhiking, religeon
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