It’s early. Pitch black. I’m staring into the dark woods outside my house. If it wasn’t so pretty, it’d be eerie.
Only a few nights ago, we were outside Atlanta. At a big gas station, there was a boy pumping gas. He was happy, black, maybe nineteen. Beside him: a beat-up compact car full of boys. They spoke with strange accents.
They were from Mali. They said they were driving to Florida. They heard there are lots of new-construction jobs there.
The kid said, “We’re new American citizens, last week. We take test and everything.”
When he said it, his friends looked at each other like they’d just discovered teeth.
I congratulated him, then apologized for our politicians.
Before he left, he said, “God bless America.”
And he meant it.
The week before, a Decatur, Alabama barbecue joint—I saw a woman with her wheelchair-bound mother.
The elderly woman shouted, “I gotta pee!”
The girl rolled her to the restroom. And for all I know, she helped her mother tend to business, too. When they came back, her mother kissed her on the forehead. She held her face and said, “My sweet Marilyn.”
Marilyn said, “Love you, Mom.”
Then she hand-fed her mother supper.
Dairy Queen parking lot, last weekend—I saw a Little League team. The coach spoke to boys in dusty uniforms.
He said, “This was a good season, guys, I want you to know how much y’all mean to me. And I don’t want to gross you out, but I love you.”
Twenty boys swarmed him with hugs, screaming sweet things, then proceeded to tear apart Dairy Queen with their bare hands.
Nobody seemed grossed out.
Anyway, I once heard a radio preacher claim that people are all one and the same. That we’re all drops of water belonging to one ocean. Sinners and saints. Homeless and wealthy. And whenever you pray for one, you’re praying for the universe.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t care much for radio preachers. Furthermore, it’s 2 a.m. and I don’t have the energy to think particularly hard about this.
But I have a feeling he’s right. Which is why I’ve decided I’m going to hope. For big things. That immigrant boys keep finding good jobs in Florida, that old women in wheelchairs keep kissing daughters. That Little-Leaguers keep finding coaches who care about more than winning. That folks behind on mortgages catch up; that hungry kids get food; that abused women find safety; that anyone who’s been rejected gets a fresh start.
And above all.
I pray you feel loved.