Lying awake in the middle of the night, I think of my stranger. I wonder how he is doing. His words replay in my mind. Are you a praying person? Will you pray for me, a stranger? My name is Matthew…and he walked away. I looked for him after that day, but never did I see him again. My stranger is a part of me now though, he changed me. He opened my eyes and I will forever be thankful to him for that.
Little did I know, before that morning, the impact a stranger could have on my life. I almost didn’t walk Luke to school. He fell walking out to the garage and had a bit of a meltdown. It was an act of tough love. I knew he wasn’t as injured as he was acting. He was a dramatic three year old, and I was a mother who wanted to run off some of the extra weight I had accumulated during the pregnancy of my second child. So, I put my baby in the jogging stroller and told Luke he was still going to walk to school. Luke’s “pain” quickly diminished and he returned to the boy who loved walking to school. That alone was enough to turn my day around.
Then there you were. Standing at the edge of the church’s parking lot with your head down. I noticed you right away. Why is this man just standing there? I almost didn’t cross the street at my usual spot. What is he doing? But then, I looked at you again. You looked sad but then so calm as well. My motherly instinct felt no harm. There were people all around. I decided to cross. I glanced over at you once more before we started to walk toward Luke’s school. Our eyes met and then you spoke. Your words––your request was simple, but yet it was the most profound encounter I will ever experience in this life.
You see, I told you I would pray for you. And I did. I still pray for you. It is just that, I didn’t exactly do it with love at first. Well, maybe my very first prayer was sincere. But then I began to question you. I judged you for asking me, a stranger, to pray for you. I wondered what horrible thing you had done, I even checked the internet for missing kids in the area. But then, I felt ashamed. Not only for judging you, I felt ashamed for all the judging I had ever done.
I will never know why you asked me and I am okay with that. Actually, I am more than okay with that. I am thankful I do not know. I needed the vagueness of it all.
Many times since, when I feel the urge to judge someone, I see you standing there. I hear your words and I humbled all over again. Because of you, I love more and deeper. I realize I need people, even strangers, to strengthen my faith and to show me the error in my ways. I will continue to pray for you and for God’s love to wrap around you. Thank you, my dear stranger.