I saw you that Friday morning grabbing warmth a moment at a time, long enough for a cup of free water and scribble a thought. I saw you and I promise you tugged at my heart. I had a plan, you know. My breakfast sandwich, it was two halves. More than I could eat. I didn’t know at the time I bought it but I know now–one was for you and the other half for me.
I should have acted when I had the chance. Minutes only passed. Not hours, just mere minutes and I, I was too late. I turned around and you were gone. Why in heaven’s name did I wait too long? Why did I wait until it was too late?
I moved closer to where you sat. And there it was, this brown napkin with your ink still soaking into the fiber. As eyes of other strangers darted into my skin I gently picked up your thoughts in exchange for half a breakfast sandwich wrapped in the warmth of a napkin. The same kind of napkin as the one in which you wrote your two words.
I pray you came back to the table, from out of the cold. I didn’t write you a note. I pray you forgive me. For being too late.
There’s this wall just across the street from where I saw you. I am sure you know the wall well. The wall is simply titled, Before I die. Before I die I want to…..I wonder, are your words on the wall. This sentence which has the power to break down the walls of hurting hearts, did you dare write?
The wishes, wants—some are fairly simple, even in reach–building a tree house, sailing a boat, live as a hippie, skydive, save one elephant. And there are others who represents matters of the heart.
Before I die I want to love
Before I die I want to be at peace
Before I die I want to be truly happy
There are many people in this world seeking love, peace, contentment. And the sad truth–the world is searching in all of the wrong places. Dear Stranger, we only receive love, peace and contentment by the giving of love. He gave us eternal love.
Please give me just a few more minutes and let me introduce you to this man. He left the riches of heaven to be like you. Like me. He knows your hunger. He knows when you sit alone. He knows when people shun you. He knows when our hearts hurt. He knows when your feet ache from the ground. He knows what it is like when you search for a place to lay your head.
This man, His name is Jesus Christ. He loved so much He died for you and me. A horrific death of pain and suffering for us, hung on a cross for our sins. He overcame death and the grave so we can have a home in heaven and He waits for us there. I pray you know Him or come to know Him.
And you see I messed up. I could have been more Christ-like to you on that morning. And my heart is still busted for not putting your needs before mine.
My Mama called me early this morning and I didn’t hear the ring. I never listen to her messages because I always call her back right away. But on this morning, I took the time to read the transcription of the message and it said, “Are you going to use your life today?” And I read it again and again. My Mama’s voice message simply ask, ‘Are you going to use your bread pans today?’
Dearest Stranger, do you know the word life is the opposite meaning of late. I didn’t until today. I may never see you again on this earth but I will pray for you. And I pray we meet in heaven one day. Because the truth of the matter is I owe you a gratitude of thanks. Thank you for changing me.
And I journey back to the wall in my mind and I write, Before I die I want to never be late again, use my life, and love always, as Christ loves.