The four men who gave us rides were fabulous. However, our trip would have been dull without our two Homeless friends. After J dropped us off at crossroads, we needed one more ride to make it all the way. So we stood by the on-ramp and waited. Not long after our arrival, a bum-looking guy walks up down the corner, slowly unfolds his cardboard sign from his pocket, leans against the stop sign, and waits for cars to stop. He soon folds his sign up, and approaches us. And I thought Oh no. And began practicing my lines of No, we don’t have cigarettes, or money to give you. How wrong was I? After all these encounters with kind souls , I could only think negatively of my fellow man.
” Did you see that?” he asks nodding back where he came from.
“Uh, no. What do you mean?” I tentatively ask.
“That man just gave me some money. And the Lord is going to provide a ride for yall. You just wait and see. You are going to get a ride real soon. I’m going to go back over to my tent just over there and I know the Lord is going to send you a ride.”
What? This homeless man wants nothing from me? He wants only to assure me that God is going to provide for me? My mind really began reeling. I had been delightfully thrown off. What I got so much more than I had expected from this man who turned on his heels and lumbered back across traffic to spend his money at the gas station.
“Thank you!” We yelled over the roar of traffic.
10 minutes later, Homeless Helper #2 crosses traffic and heads straight for us. This time, I’m a bit more gracious in my spirit. I say ,”hi” as he walks by, “I’ve got something for yall.”
He peruses the ground for just the right specimen. Finds the right one. Whips a sharpie out of his back pocket. Scribbles. Scratches. Then proudly hands his sign to Sean.
Gosh, he’s got neat handwriting I thought, right before the laughter of unbelief slipped out. He was not finished. “You gotta stand here. . . and signs always help. Then people know a little more about you. Now I know you are going to get a ride. I saw that red truck slow down, and I thought that was it. I thought God was giving you a ride. But it didn’t work out. That’s okay, my sister, my brother, because you’re gonna get one real soon. My friend and I are praying for you right over there [pointing to the field behind the gas station]. My friend and I live in an 8 man tent right over there. And we’ll be praying for you until you get a ride. But you will. It’s coming soon.”
I think I managed an enthusiastic “Thank you!” before he walked back across traffic. Sean and I just laughed and laughed with delight. How awesome is that? Two homeless guys praying and watching in the woods for us to get a ride? They never asked us for a smoke. Or food. Or help. Or anything. All they did was offer all that they had to us – their comrade-ship and unattached prayers. I really think they found great contentment in offering all they had to us.
And they were right. Not long after the last guy disappeared over the on-ramp, our last ride was pulling up. As Sean and I climbed into the pick-up truck’s bed, we waved to the woods where our friends were watching from and yelled “Thank you!” from deep within us.
Thank you. I whispered as we rolled away.