NOTE TO READERS: When I mentioned to BCE earlier that I was considering maybe relating the below story to you CF Lifers, he gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up to the idea. So here t’is; this really did happen, and every word of it is true.
So night before last I went to the Murphy’s about three miles from the house to put a little gas in the car, where I had myself a most interesting encounter. I get the gas in the tank, screw the cap on, and then roll around to the passenger door, which is the only way I can get in, having to disassemble the wheelchair, drag the whole mess through the door and onto the passenger seat, then scoot my baggy butt on over to the driver’s side. Ain’t no way the trick can be turned from the driver’s side, the steering column is in the way. Go ahead, ask me how I know.
Anyways, I had both the main wheels off, the seat-back folded down, and was just beginning my rasslin’ match with the chassis when a tall, slim young man, probably about 30 or so, walked up. He was neatly dressed and coiffed, not any kind of ruffian, at least by my admittedly dim lights. And hey, being something of a ruffian myself, I know one when I see one.
“Can I help you with that?” says he. I told him nah, no need, but thanks; I’ve got this whole PITA rotation pretty much down to a science by now, thanks to having done it way too many times. But, I said, if you have a minute you can close the door behind me when I’m in and done, which is the biggest pain of the whole ordeal. He said he’d be happy to, then whips out his wallet. “Do you need any money?”
Again, I told him I was okay, inasmuch as any of us can really say so with that jackass we got squatting in the White House making a mess of the entire damned country. He chuckled, shook his head, and pulled out a few bills, about ten bucks or so it was. I tried to turn him down again, but after a bit more back and forth he just crammed the money into my hand insistently enough that suddenly it felt somewhat rude to keep declining. So I finally gave up, thanked him, and took the dough.
Which is when he got down to the meat of the matter with: “May I ask you kind of a personal question?” “Sure, fire away.” Then he did.
“Do you believe in God?” Sayeth I, “Yes, I surely do.” “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” Again, I answered in the affirmative, then elaborated: “I was raised in the First United Methodist Church in Mt Holly. My mom worked for years as church secretary; I sang in the choir as soon as I was old enough; was asked by the music director to be the church organist when I was fourteen, which I declined to do because we have a for-real pipe organ with three manuals, a full pedal clavier, and a console with I don’t even know how many stops, not one item of which I know very much about. I attended vacation Bible school every summer. My whole family on my dad’s side were very active in our church their whole lives, in fact amounted to pretty much the backbone of it. I made sure that was where my daughter attended kindergarten a few years back, over my self-professed atheist ex-wife’s objections.”
“So yeah, even though I would never lay claim to being as good a Christian as I could or should be—I’m a sinner just like everybody else is, after all—I am most definitely a Christian.”
He asked me my name, then asked if I would mind if he prayed for me. I told him I would greatly appreciate that, since nowadays I figure we all need all the help we can get. He smiled, took my hand in his, and bowed his head.
“Dear Lord, I pray that you will heal Mike in his body, his mind, and his spirit. Please remove all disease, all sickness of any kind, from his body and his heart. If You will it, allow him to regrow his left leg as well. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I also know that with You, all things are possible. Guide him on Your righteous path, and let Your light and your grace shine upon Him. In Jesus’s name we pray, Amen.”
I repeated the final line of this man’s prayer myself, then released his hand and raised my own head to look at the kind-hearted, humble stranger. I swear to one and all, I felt the stump of my left leg tingling when he asked that God might regrow it, strongly enough that it was almost creepy. It weirded me out just a little, that tingling sensation, it truly did.
He told me that when he pulled into Murphy’s and saw me struggling to get that danged wheelchair into my battered, beat-up old piece of junk car, he heard God’s voice in his ear, instructing him to go over and see if there might be some way he could assist me, with anything at all. And so he did.
After I thanked him profusely, he smiled at me one last time, shook my hand, and walked on into the convenience store. I started up the car and drove back home. That unlooked-for encounter has stuck with me these last two days, and I expect I’ll carry it with me for the rest of my life. Or so I hope, anyway. It was a wonderful thing, and I can’t begin to express how fortunate I feel to have received such a powerful gift from a perfect stranger.
It occurs to me now that I really ought to have asked this fella what church he attends, because any church that’s turning out good, true Christians like himself is a church worth knowing about.
OK Feel Good Story of the last 2 years.
America doesn’t need to be “Fundamentally Transformed”.
It needs to be Fundamentally Restored.
Good catch Kenny.