Missed Stop

“Good morning, and welcome to my world. My name’s Nathan. I’ll be your guide for the next hour. Please stay with the group and remember, remain behind the velvet rope”.  Nathan hated giving the same spill each day, but he needed the part-time job at the museum. The medical bills wouldn’t pay for themselves. Even with insurance, the costs were out of reach.

Nathan missed him – his dad that is. He had been the rock of the family but would eventually succumb to a mystery illness.  He couldn’t believe that’s how they described it. Wasn’t medicine modern? Weren’t scientists doting on how far they’d advanced? Nathan knew it was all baloney.

His parents tried to instill faith and spirituality in him as a child. But at this point in his life, his level of belief had waned. First his mother abandoned him and his father when he was eleven.  Then they had to move to a small home in a questionable neighborhood because his father couldn’t afford better.  And Nathan was often home alone due to his father’s work schedule, meaning he had to keep house and make meals for himself.

Things eventually got better over the years – not financially, but comfort of routine.  The worse came a little over a year ago when Nathan’s father was diagnosed with an unexplained illness. In such a short time, his father was gone.

Nathan’s shift had ended. He grabbed his jacket and crossbody bag and headed towards the bus stop. He stopped at the small corner store to buy water and crackers. He’d missed lunch and couldn’t wait to get home. Then again, the cupboard was bare.

A weird feeling came over him. He felt prompted to buy a lottery ticket. It wasn’t his thing, but then again isn’t that how most people won? Nathan looked at the numbers. Nothing superstitious – no birth dates, favorite numbers, old high school jerseys – nothing. He placed the ticket in his bag and proceeded to the bus stop.

Once the bus arrived and Nathan hopped on, he thought about his future. What would it be like if he actually won? If he got the $50 million jackpot he’d wait at least a month before spending a dime. And even then he’d get a legal and financial team together to help made wise choices. He didn’t want to get caught up in the excitement of winning and before long, be broke again. He also didn’t want to be took by these professionals or supposed family that came out of the woodwork.

Speaking of family, where were they? When his dad died, not even his mother resurfaced. Aunts, uncles, and cousins were quick to come by to see what was in the house, but not a one tried to help when the bank was about to foreclose on said house. He was sure these relatives would try to worm their way back.

Before Nathan realized it, he had missed his stop – actually it was several stops ago. His thoughts were so consumed in the hopes of a fortune and bitterness towards blood that was thinner than water. He got off at the next stop then walked across the street to catch the bus in the opposite direction.

As he stood under the shelter, he noticed a homeless man lying on the ground. He appeared to be asleep, or at least Nathan hoped. He stared at the man to ensure that he saw a rising and falling chest. When he turned back around, the man had gotten up and was now standing beside him.

“I’ve been waiting on you.”

“Huh?” Nathan thought the man was drunk and hallucinating.

“You’re Nathan, right?”

Nathan looked shocked and felt scared. He didn’t know how this man knew his name. He decided to walk away. By the time he arrived at the next bus stop two blocks up, the same homeless man was there.

“I’m not trying to scare you. I was sent to guide you. Let me introduce myself. I’m Josiah. I’m an angel.”

“Yeah right. You’re something, but an angel I don’t believe. Quit wasting my time.” Nathan turned away.

Josiah walked around in front of him. “Haven’t you read the scripture about entertaining angels unaware?” Josiah searched Nathan’s face for an acknowledging response. Nothing. “At least heard it?”

Nathan was looking angered. “I’ve heard it. But tell me this. Why weren’t you entertaining when my dad was sick? Or I’ll do you one better, when my mom walked out on us?”

“That I cannot answer. Only the One can tell you that. I’m sure He had His reasons.”

“Well, whatever they were, they suck.”

“Oh my! You shouldn’t talk that way.”

“Don’t tell me what I should and should not do. In fact, what is it you’re supposed to do? Is this something like It’s a Wonderful Life?”

“Not at all.”

“Then what?”

“You will see red. Not in a way that you expect. It will be a signal to help and a new beginning.”

“What in the world is that supposed to mean?”

The homeless man didn’t say anything more. He turned and started to walk away until he faded out of sight. Nathan rubbed his eyes because he couldn’t believe what he saw. He ran in the direction of the disappearing man but had to turn back because the bus had arrived.

Nathan entered the bus and took a seat. He was still in awe about what had happened, and even more puzzled at what the homeless man meant. His best guess was that something would anger him. Well, he was too late in telling him that. He was already angry at his current circumstances. Then Nathan decided that what had happened had to be a delusion. He dismissed it.

When he got home, he turned on every light. While he tried not to believe the earlier events were real, realistically he was spooked. He pulled out his father’s old Bible and set it on the nightstand next to his bed. His fear was starting to turn to superstition. Nathan knew his father would be disappointed in him for that. He wanted to believe, but just didn’t have a reason to.

Nathan took his shower and then returned to his room to get into bed. He picked up the Bible and it opened to Hebrews chapter thirteen. His eyes instinctively went to the second verse: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Nathan quickly closed the book. He got down on his knees to pray, but somehow he ended up in a deep sleep instead.

Nathan envisioned a man standing at the foot of his bed. It was Josiah.

“Nathan your hurts and disappointments have been recognized. Now is the time to believe in spite of these things. If you follow the path given, you will reap more than you ever thought you’d sow.”

And just like before, the man faded away. Nathan’s eyes opened in half-slits. He looked around the room, but didn’t see anyone. It was just like before at the bus stop.  He didn’t know what was going on, and he had grown tired of trying to deny it. It was the first time in years that he would lean towards believing.  And almost at the point of reverting to old thinking, something amazing happened.

***Find out next week what happened to Nathan***

Photos: Complete Wellbeing, Tom Stuart

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