The car slowed, the two men stared at me, their gaze unsettling. I had parked my car at the end of the driveway, in front of the charred, burnt home—ready to walk the long driveway to the back, to a friend who lives in the abandoned garage.
I kept my eyes on the car in my rearview mirror, unable to unlock my door, unable to decide to get out—or to stay. I was caught in limbo, lingering between an uneasiness and sensing something that told me the two men were up to no-good.
Regardless, if I was correct or not, I remained in the car and then I noticed at the end of the street, the vehicle made a U-turn and it stopped. Well, I watched them, and I figured they were watching me.
I sat. They inched closer, and stopped the car again. Not too close. But closer than I wished. So I watched them in the mirror and waited.
Then, it was like they got a call, and the car zipped into a skid, turned the other way and disappeared.
So I climbed from my car, opened the back door, grabbing the case of water and the muffins for my wheelchair-friend.
Lugging them up the driveway, I knew his last few days of extreme cold to sultry warm weather couldn’t have been too much fun—I heard his call, “I was wondering when you’d decide to get out of the car. What were you doing?”
“I was watching these two guys who were watching me. I didn’t want to become a target. So I waited for them to leave.”
He smiled, “I could take them on. I would save you.”
I loved how confident he was in what he said, and then I realized his radio blared gospel music—and he told me, “You can listen to this station in your car. You’ll feel safer listening to good stuff like this when you’re afraid.”
“So you think I was afraid?”
“Well, maybe a little.”
“Then turn that radio on and pray to God to keep you safe!”
“I sure will. Do you like blueberry muffins?”
“Of course. They’s the best there is. I’m glad those men didn’t take them, I’d hurt them for some muffins.”
We laughed, spoke of deeper things, like his growing up in school nearby, of his health, of his lack of strength—of his trust in God, even though he struggles with the bottle. “I fight it. But I lose.”
“Then you better crank that radio up. That music speaks to our heart and tells us about God—and I pray you serve the Lord, that He becomes the master of your desires instead.”
“Me, too. I do need to give up the drinking. It’s not working out for me. It’s not good for the soul either.”
Praying with my friend, I wept at his makeshift tent in the corner of the garage, at his small table with leftover sterno cans. At his home that’s not a home.
As I walked down the driveway back to my car, he hollered, “Be safe. Keep them doors locked. And turn that radio on.”
I turned to call to him. “I sure will. And you do the same!”
(So if you’re reading this, please lift my friend up. As I pray for him and for his safety. And I pray for victory in his life, too.)