On a late spring morning with promise perfuming the honeysuckle air, I lost my job, my girlfriend, and my car. Then things really went bad.
As a young man I took pleasure in zipping around the Colorado foothills on my motorcycle. Maybe it was because I was in the West, or maybe just the altitude, but when I’d spot another rider I'd picture the two of us as Indians hunting among the herd of buffalo cars. Now I was just another boring bison in a vast herd, shuffling along, nose to rump, anxious at the sight of traffic helicopters whose vulture-like circling ahead announced another fallen comrade.
It was just then my phone did its buzzing, chirping thing. I long for the reassuringly mechanical sound of a ringing telephone. Now we struggle in a menacing electronic jungle, dangerously alive with a shrieking cacophony. Peril awaits the unwary explorer who pauses to answer back.
“I’m sorry I’m so late,” I tried explaining. “Just no way to predict this traffic.”
“Actually it’s good that we got you first.” came the answer. I don’t clearly remember the rest but something about a severance package was mentioned and how I could better use the rest of the day freshening my resume.
As I worked my way over to the next exit, my cell phone stung me again.
“We need to have a talk,” she was saying.
“Hold it right there,” I interrupted. “ I know womanspeak enough to know that means you need to have a talk and I need to have a listen.” It rapidly when downhill from there. I was starting to mentally rearrange my weekend plans for the next several months when my car shuddered violently and with a heartrending sigh breathed its last.
After haggling with the wrecker driver I signed the registration and title over to him. I’d paid cash for it a couple years back and it was worth less than the tow.
Suddenly I had no place I had to be but somewhere I needed to go. Taking a cab from the beltway exit I went directly to the bus station. I was but dimly aware of the landscape that rushed by the bus window until I found my self sitting on a sandy beach, numb to the warmth of the sun on my face.
For a few hours I was troubled by strange dreams of being chased among the pillars under the pier by the tow truck driver, no now my boss, next my girlfriend.
I woke up, sand sticking to my face and one arm, to a distant rumbling and a few drops of rain. I stretched out some nagging stiffness and started out at a brisk walk. I used to be a fair runner, and though I’d lately been too busy to train seriously, I could still handle a decent pace for a few miles. Suddenly I craved that familiar rocking swing of my legs, the light rhythmic feeling of my feet skimming the surface that had so often and so long been a daily delight.
Along the sandy shoreline, in wingtips and microfiber slacks, like Elijah outrunning Ahab’s chariot and the end of the drought, I tried to outdistance the coming storm.
The storm kept gaining, but I ran on, exhilarated. Suddenly I smelled brimstone, and the hair on my head lifted me up, suspended like Ezekiel, as the world fell away beneath me, then slammed into my back. I lay there a moment, staring straight up into the driving rain, a bug squashed flat on the windshield of the world, driving furiously into the storm.
The rain suddenly softened, a warm liquid light seemed to fill the space around me. A voice too pure for sound was speaking to me, with thoughts too exalted for words. He had a purpose for me, and now I was in the best place to hear.
Distant voices suddenly became close, flashing lights resolved themselves into an ambulance. I rose to my feet and walked past them, assuring them I was ok. Catching my reflection in a car window, I understood their letting me pass by. A weird grin was plastered to my face just like the wet hair to my skull.
I knew I heard from God that day, and although I’d lost so much that morning, I’d somehow gained far more. Adventure awaits! I can now run with perseverance the course laid before me.
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