Sunday, March 20, 2011

Down Jericho Way

A serendipity, an unplanned blessing, came one morning as I drove down Bradley Road. Very unexpectedly, as I had been struggling through a severe spiritual crisis, yet another pilgrim's regress. (Sometimes I wonder, doesn't a person's spiritual journey ever reach the proverbial mountain top, or at least a peaceful oasis in the barren desert of ached spiritual longing?)

It's Saturday. I drop off my son at his school to take his SAT class and head home, ruminating on Life's problems. But then I see the elderly man, the one who stands by the corner hitchhiking most days of the week. Normally, I don't stop because the traffic is heavy and there is no side lane, and there are miles to go before I rest, but today no cars are crowding me, so I listen to an inner feeling and stop for the man. He is in old wrinkled clothes, almost looking homeless, and hunched as if someone has curled his spine; his one gnarled hand holds a small trash bag, evidently his lunch.

When he thanks me I can hardly understand him as he speaks with a heavy Spanish accent and has a voice impediment. He climbs into the van and sits there bent forward, his face weathered, like dark brown parchment. I find out he has 13 grandkids and his wife died from cancer 18 months ago and that he works at a carwash and is 82 years old!

We commune, even though it is hard to understand him. My heavy load of grief lightens. I leave him off near his work where he baptizes cars. I'm not even a Samaritan, more like a prodigal son, but our Father met us on the road there that morning, even though we spoke no religious language. The hitchhiker and I were in a precious moment, a present meeting.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox