What word would you choose?
A steady wind climbs the tall grass. Green presses down like footprints formed by something just beyond the veil. Warmth touches all, even the wind, and I can’t help but wonder if God is also enjoying this moment… if His warmth and steps are all around me.
Sitting on the passenger seat of my car is a list of errands that have yet to be crossed off. For some reason, this grassy hill draws my attention more than written plans. I park my car and succumb to the urge of walking in the midst of the dancing grass.
As I continue walking, a man comes into view upon the crest of the hill. Not expecting company, his presence startles me. We pause at the same time. He gives a short nod and a long smile, and I return both to him.
His tanned skin peeks out from beneath a faded green t-shirt worn underneath an open, long-sleeved white cotton top dusted with dirt. His jeans are noticeably too big – cinched upon his waist with brown twine. Life has aged him well beyond his years. I wish I could give my eyes to his family so they could see him as clearly as I do now. He is someone’s son, I say to myself. Surely someone is thinking about him? Maybe he is headed home?
My thoughts feel more like a prayer.
I don’t notice the other piece of twine until he begins to walk away. A long string is used to hold a square of dented cardboard to the outside of the bulky backpack he carries. A pillow is tightly rolled between the pack and the small of his back, giving him a bent silhouette.
If I weren’t so near to him I wouldn’t have been able to make out the word upon the cardboard — a single word written crudely in all caps with dark ink.
The word startles me as much as his unexpected company. Without thought, I raise my voice so he will stop walking away.
“Why that word? Why “FAITH”? Why did you choose that one word to wear on your back?”
He stops and turns to me. Placing his hands on the straps of his pack he says, “Because faith has gotten me this far.”
“Got it,” I reply with an awkward grin. I’m not sure whether to turn and leave or let him leave first. We are going in opposite directions but somehow ended up sharing this moment in time.
I turn first. He remains. I can feel him watching me, and then I hear his voice raise.
“Thanks for reminding me.”
“Reminding you of what?”
“Of the word. Sometimes I forget.” He lets out a soft laugh. “I hadn’t said it aloud in a long time.”
I notice he doesn’t repeat the word; his laugh echos with hurt rather than happiness.
Settling back into my car, I look at the words scribbled on my to-do list. I turn it over and stare at blankness. If I were to limit this page to just one word, what word would I choose?
And is this word tied like a banner upon my thoughts and heart? Do I remind myself of what and Who has gotten me this far, or do I forget myself in the tired moments of today and the uncertainties of tomorrow?
My list of errands means less to me now… important, but not most important. If my living is not centered in the Word, then my actions, no matter how important or mundane, hold less value than God intends.
Perhaps God knew I, too, needed to be reminded. Sometimes I forget.
SGLY, dear reader.
(Smile, God Loves You.)
Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian Author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier, Instagram:@tiffanysgly, and Twitter: @tiffanychartier.