The Mystery Man
My home office, from where I am typing this post, is at the far end of the cinder block building in this photo. Every two or three weeks for the past year, a man would ride up the driveway on a bicycle and knock on my office door. Although he seemed to be in his early 30s, he had a simple, childlike personality. His purpose was to ask about the modular home on our property, which has been sitting vacant because we can’t afford to drill a new well. This fellow – let’s call him “Wayne” – is deaf, though he wears an audio device in his ear that amplifies sound. His speech is that of a person who has been deaf from birth and who has had a lot of speech therapy. He talks very loud and his pronunciation is sometimes garbled, but under the circumstances he is remarkably intelligible.
For a while each visit was the same. He knocks on the door, I open it. He greets me with a smile and a strong Orland handshake and apologizes for the intrusion. He asks about the mobile home, I explain that it still isn’t ready to rent. He tells me that it would be perfect for his wife and three young children who want to live in the country. He gives me his number and makes me promise to call him when the place is ready.
Because he once noticed the crucifix on the wall of my office, he would ask me periodically if I was a “pastor”, forgetting what I told him on the last visit. Perhaps he didn’t hear me: I have to speak loudly and he has to read my lips to understand what I am saying. Anyway, ever since then he has asked me to pray for him.
One afternoon last spring he stopped by at the usual time … but he was not his usual chipper self. He told me he had just lost his job as a maintenance man for the local school district. He didn’t ask about the house this time, but he did ask for my prayers.
A few weeks later he stopped by again, and this time he looked pretty miserable. He told me that his wife had left him and issued a restraining order against him. He said that he’d been drinking too much since he lost his job, but he protested that he had never been violent. He had been crying. He missed his family. He was soon to be homeless. He asked for my prayers.
Several visits later, he stopped by in a good mood. He wanted to tell me that he was going back to church and had quit drinking completely. Although he still didn’t have a job and his wife still didn’t want him back, he was turning his life around. He was allowed to see his children every other weekend. He was grateful to God for everything. Things were looking up. He asked again for my prayers.
Now, I am no longer home on weekday afternoons due to having new outside employment. I started work three weeks ago for a local business here in Glenn County. While I was at work today, around the noon hour, I very suddenly began feeling a sharp pain in my lower intestine. The pain was increasing fast and felt like I was passing a stone. Almost doubled over in pain, I told my boss I needed to go home. So I drove home, climbed into bed, and tried to get comfortable. Soon I was fast asleep.
At around 4:30pm I was awakened by the doorbell. As I woke up, I realized that my pain was completely gone. I answered the door. It was Wayne. He had his big smile on again, and he stuck out his hand for that big Orland handshake. “I just stopped by to tell you that I’VE GOT A JOB!!” he said excitedly, practically shouting. He told me he was hired in the maintenance department of another school district. He went on about the goodness of God in answering his prayers, he told me that he’s been staying sober, going to church, and has been approved to receive financial assistance for a better hearing device.
His wife still doesn’t want to reconcile, so he asked me to pray for her, and thanked me again for my prayers. I opened the front door a little wider and pointed to the Crucifix on the wall in my living room. I told Wayne that He was the One to thank. Wayne could hardly contain his emotion at that point.
No, I’m never home on weekday afternoons … unless the Savior wants me there.