|A Stranger and a Prayer (standard:Inspirational stories, 946 words)|
|Author: CL Schilling||Added: Nov 16 2011||Views/Reads: 1311/831||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A short non-fiction story about a homeless man along a California railroad one night and the offering of a simple prayer.|
by: CL Schilling It was only going to be a four minute stop and I didn't have any plans to get off the train. But for some reason, I found myself standing there at the Fresno Amtrak station late that evening merely to stretch my legs as I was on my way back to my seminary in Northern California. I had just finished spending part of my spring break in Southern California where I was visiting friends and was eager to get home. But just before I got out of the cold drizzle and back onto the warm and dry train, I heard a voice from behind me. “Hey, pretty boy!” a voice shouted over my shoulder. At first I didn't respond because I didn't think the voice was directed at me. Nor do I consider myself a ‘pretty boy' in any way. “Pretty boy,” the voice shouted again. Standing in the doorway of the large Amtrak train which was illuminated from all the lights on inside, I turned around and looked behind me. “Yes, you,” the voice said from down below. Looking down, I noticed a thin, African American man in his late thirties with a scraggly beard who was wearing nothing but a LA Lakers T-Shirt and ripped pair of blue jeans. At first, I wondered how he wasn't cold standing there in only a T-Shirt. But then I was about to learn that being cold was secondary to his main problem that evening. “Do you have any spare change, a dollar, even fifty cents?” he asked me as I looked down at him from the warm train car while he stood standing under a drizzling and cold night sky. “No, sorry,” I replied. I was being truthful when I told him I didn't have any spare change. I had spent the remaining cash in my wallet on buying dinner in the cafe car an hour earlier. Though, I must also be truthful when I say that at times in my past I've told others who asked me for money that I didn't have any when in fact I really did. “Man, I'm starving,” he replied looking down in disappointment. “Well, thanks anyway, and God Bless you.” he said. But just as he was about to turn away, something happened to me. While I've had people ask me for money before, there was something about this man that was different. It was because despite begging to me for money and still getting nothing from me, he was still was asking God to bless me. And it was at that point I realized God was pushing me out of my comfort zone and leading me to do something I never thought I could get the courage to do. As someone who is studying at a seminary to be an ordained Presbyterian minister, it's natural to think all those who work in ministry can easily ask others if they want to pray whether they be strangers or friends. However, as someone who has constantly battled a sense of shyness since childhood, I have been trying to overcome my stage fright by not just offering friends and family members the opportunity to pray when they need it the most, but to bring up my faith in God and Jesus Christ without being asked about it before hand. And while I have been getting better at offering friends and family members the opportunity to pray, I have always been somewhat resistant with offering someone whom I've never met not just my prayers, but to talk about my faith unless I am asked about it out of fear of seeming too pompous and overbearing about my faith. But without consideration or hesitation, the words just came out of my mouth. “Wait a minute,” I said while standing off the Amtrak train. I don't have any money, but would you like me to pray for you?” I asked. “Yes,” he said while eagerly shaking his head. “Grabbing his dirty hand and putting my other hand on his shoulder, I asked him for his name. He told me it was Wagner. And then, for the first time in my life, I prayed with a complete stranger. Click here to read the rest of this story (28 more lines)
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