july 30, 2000

Here's another early story that I thought I'd use to talk about God's protection:

A little brown butterfly, with orange and white splotches on its wings, is enthralled with my socks. It keeps licking them. I just left the church, where God overwhelmed me again. Good rest last night, kept dry, then I discover there's a potluck after the service today. I still had $3, but I didn't know of any store nearby. I talked to a number of people before and during the service, then at the dinner the pastor made me introduce myself and say a little about my trip. I stammered out something. But during the meal, the pastor secretly took up an offering for me. He presented it as we finished eating: $75! I was so surprised, I blushed in front of everyone and didn't know what to say. [When I tried to give some of that collection back, the minister said, "God gave you that much, you're probably going to need it."]

That evening, as I was walking through yet another cornfield just before dark, looking for a town to appear, a trucker picked me up. Within an hour, I was sixty miles closer to Chicago, almost in the southern suburbs. But it was dark. And as I wandered down the expressway off-ramp, I saw only city. Not an easy place to find a safe spot to curl up. But I did see some motels, and I did have an unusually large amount of money in my pocket at that moment. The motels were near the expressway, and almost full, so they were pretty expensive. But I got a room on my second try, with $9 left over. I called Tim so we could arrange to meet in the morning. Suddenly, I was here!

...I had been wanting a ride in a semi, but assumed it was against company policy since no trucker ever offered. Well, I got my ride. But it wasn't so pleasant. The young driver soon made it clear that he was looking for "companionship," and I suddenly felt very vulnerable. [The trucker had changed careers after losing his young wife and daughter in a car accident, and was still very distraught over it.]

Nothing came of it, and the guy even diverted his route to get me closer to Chicago, so overall I could only be grateful. But trucking wasn't what I expected. It felt very cold; a hard world. I also met an older driver outside the motel who had a scar across his throat where a robber had cut him, attempted to murder him, really. A hard world. The voices on the CB radio provided the fitting imagery: anonymous, disembodied, often foul--words without thickness floating through space. Symbolizing loneliness and isolation, strangers sliding by each other, hardened lives. Fear, too; I can see why they don't pick people up. They roam the same roads I do, but the journey is not the same; the difference is immeasurable.