“Medicine Hat Alberta”
The sign greeted us with the same ominous tone as the rain had on the windshield.
Papa J whispered something under his breath that I couldn’t make out. Both of us had had our share of revelations on our short journey together. It is funny how the mind, with all of its wild imaginations, cannot piece together the fabric of time that is laid before us. Though we wish, dream and pray, the reality that unfolds in our daily lives, still remain a constant mist, which is elusive, yet imminent.
I had often heard of Medicine Hat in the news, whether it was sports related, or the national forecast. I had never considered ever coming here.
As I thought of how circumstances control our everyday, I felt a wave wash over me like a warm breath. It was enough to make the hairs on my neck and arms stand. It was the same feeling I had had years earlier when standing alone in St. Anne’s church. The darkness had been overwhelming as I waited for my parents to pick me up. They had been running late, and I was the last to leave. In my solitude I felt the air shift and I became keenly aware of the fact that I was alone, or so I thought.
In that moment within the confines of the sanctuary, images of every horror film ran through my mind. What was it that watched me? Who was crouching in the shadows behind the tabernacle? Was the movement of the air, simply a rush of wind that crept in through some failing windows, or something far more sinister?
I cracked a smile there in the car, which Papa J missed.
Imagination, the mind rarely allows you to play the truth card in such situations. My parents arrived minutes later, never to hear this story. I realized now that I had also had an overwhelming feeling of familiarity when that had happened. But as a young boy, such feelings are not recognizable; rather fear of the unknown controls all thought. If I had only the slightest amount of insight that day as I was gaining now, perhaps I would have met with my protector then, rather than now.
I had no idea that I would receive a revelation on this day, or on this trip for that matter. I was hiding from my current reality, remember? I was trying to dream myself away, but though my mind made great plans for my demise, the truth was waiting for me to see what it had in store.
I felt that warmth crawl over me once more. It stirred the emotions that I associated with the holidays, with my childhood home, with shepherd’s pie (my favorite meal), watching hockey with my dad on the couch, and everything that whispered of security.
I looked at Papa J, his hands still gripping the wheel. I saw him mouthing words under his breath again. And as I saw him doing this, I realized that he too was smiling very subtly. The clouds broke before us and the sun ran down its rays. It looked like Gods fingers were raking the earth. He turned to me with a brotherly expression and said “we two are so similar and fortunate, like a couple of vines growing from different directions, but destined to be intertwined due to circumstance.”
How true Papa J. I thought. Circumstances often bring people together, but rarely are the people keen enough to realize why. I had no idea why he and I ended up on that train way back in Ontario, but I was ready to find out.
Even my imagination sat inert for the first time. My mind was silent. My dreams of what may be became impaired. Truth was the only thing that allowed itself to unfold. As we entered deeper into Medicine Hat, we turned onto Fairview Avenue. Every turn led to another dream come true.
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