The more places we stop on our motorcycle trip, the more broken the world seems. I’m not talking about the systems of health care, the economy, or our government, although you could make cases for each being broken.
What I’m talking about is all the broken lives. Divorce, illness, dashed dreams, lonely hearts, and longing for something better… something more. Today, Paul and I crossed paths on our motorcycle trip with two such lives filled with brokenness.
The first is Doyle, a military veteran whose health is failing, benefits are being curtailed, and more importantly, whose wife passed away just over a year ago. He sits under a gazebo next to a convenience store watching the traffic go by from his motorized chair. His home is six blocks away, but it is a lonely place and he can’t bear to be there. His kids live locally but I get the feeling don’t see him as frequently as they should. He doesn’t have a church home ever since he became disillusioned because nobody seemed to care while his wife was sick and dying.
Paul and I visited with him while we were cooling off after crossing half of Wyoming. After we talked, I offered to pray for him and as I did, he began to sob. He actually shook from sobbing while I prayed. It was heartbreaking, but as we said goodbye, he seemed to have a little twinkle in his eye and maybe a little more hope than 20 minutes earlier.
The other broken life we encountered was Ted. He wandered up to my bike at another stop admiring my stickers and he wasn’t hesitant to tell me his story after I asked him if he rode one too. His dreams were shattered and his life was broken – literally – in 1997. He was involved in an accident in which he broke his back. It wasn’t diagnosed until 10 months later after never really recovering. He had surgery and has been on disability ever since. Since the diagnosis took so long and his disability benefits didn’t begin until after surgery, he lost his home to foreclosure. Ever since, for the last 15 years, he’s been living out of his camper. He moves from place to place, until the owner of the property or the town makes him move. Broken bones, broken lives.
They’re everywhere, if we look. But as I reflect on those two, I know that God made a difference in their lives as we happened upon them. For Ted, it was a hug. For Doyle, it was the heaving sobs. Both were touched. And that’s what it’s all about.
We’re taking our faith on the road again today. I can’t wait to see what awaits.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
(Incidentally, prayers are needed for a rider named Tim who was involved in a motorcycle accident which we witnessed; and also for a group of riders we came upon which required three ambulances and a gurney)