The morning walk to the bus was required because I was lazy. Instead of getting into my workout clothing and walking the couple of miles to work, I elected to have a cup of coffee, a bowl of cereal, and watch the news.
Fifty yards from the bus stop I noticed Darius. He was waving a vodka bottle at me as I passed the door to the liquor store. I got the sense that he was asking if I’d grab another and join him. Even in my wildest days, 0905 was a bit early.
As I crossed the street, he offered me the bottle. I’ve seen him around for the past few years, we trod the same streets and he occasionally has been to the church where we have the Good Neighbor Meal. I declined the offer and shot the breeze with him while we waited for the bus. Very cordial fellow, and in spite of his wardrobe (he was only a bit shabbier than me) he carried him self with the dignity of that rare bread of intoxicant who isn’t oblivious to their own world. In short, he was a happy drunk, and he was glad to share the morning air, and his vodka, with a fellow traveler.
After boarding the bus, we chit chatted a bit, but I mostly gazed out the window. It was a companionable silence for the most part. I carry some gift cards for McDonald’s with me most of the time, and I palmed one before we hit the final miles to my stop, intending to hand it to him as I left.
Darius looked at me staring out the window and waved something at me: it was a McDonald’s gift card. “You need anything for lunch? I’ve got a card for you.” Touched? Here was a guy who was living on his brother’s couch, and who’d walked a full mile to get to the only liquor store in the area. He was concerned about me. Yeah, I was touched.
He got off at the next stop, and I just prayed a bit harder for him as we pulled away from the curb. He had money. Lots of it (he confided the amount to me.) I was worried that some predator would hurt him for the money. But I have a hunch that he’ll be fine – angels seem to be that way.
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Why do I suspect he was an angel? Because for the next 8 hours my workday was filled with misery. My every attempt to do the right thing led me into one more minefield, one more trap, one more migraine, and one more explanation to the powers that be that while I’m slow, I’m not actually incompetent.
The end of the day came, and Darius’ kindness had sustained me during the worst moments. But it was largely a day of learning just how ignorant I truly am in some ways. I took the elevator down to the lobby and walked out the security door to see people skirting a madman on the corner. That’s how it looked.
I had to pass him to get to the bus home. As I approached, he asked me if I believed in Jesus. “Yes. I certainly do.”
“Can I pray for you?”
He put his hand on my head, and it was obvious that the Holy Spirit had filled this man. He prayed for a full two minutes, blessing me and encouraging me. At the end, I shook his hand and introduced myself. He grabbed my hand tightly and commenced to pray even more fervently.
When the “Amen” hit, he released my hand and thanked me for stopping. He encouraged me to pray and seek God. I wished him well. I felt that aura that you get from time-to-time when light enters your life.
Tonight, sitting here putting this to paper, I know God sent those two messengers to book-end my day. He knew I’d need those two angels to carry me through the doubt and pain I felt in my ignorance.
Thanks, God. Say hi to those angels. I’m sure they’re close by both of us this night.
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