By SEAN DIETRICH
It’s late night. She’s driving on an empty highway. The radio is playing something lively. She’s heading toward South Carolina. A new life. A new job. A new town.
She’s got a lot going for her. She’s fresh out of college, smart, ambitious, she comes from a good family, she’s got all the support she can stand.
She’s giddy about her new job. She starts on Monday. She’ll get her own office, good benefits, the whole enchilada. She’s wondering where life is going to take her next, and she’s pure excitement.
She doesn’t see the deer jump in front of her. All she hears is the sound of crunching.
It’s over fast. She smashes into a guardrail, her vehicle tumbles a few times. There is blood in her vision, but she’s not hurt — it’s a miracle.
Her car is wrecked, she’s stuck in a ditch, but she’s alive with no broken bones. She tries to crawl out of the vehicle, but the door is jammed.
That’s when she hears something. Footsteps in the brush. A man crawls into her vehicle through the shattered windshield. He pulls her free.
Her new friend says, “You’re gonna be alright.”
It’s dark. They hike toward the highway to flag a car down. When she gets to the road, the man is gone.
Bill has cancer. It started as a skin problem on his back. It grew fast. It spread. Doctors operate and cut it out.
After the invasive procedure, he lies on a hospital bed, subjected to lethal doses of daytime television. Bill is beyond sad. He has no wife, no children, no immediate family to visit him. He’s never felt as alone as he does today.
He sees a child, standing by the open door. He doesn’t know how the boy got in. Only friends and family are allowed to visit — Bill has neither.
The kid must be about ten or eleven. He is by himself, dark skinned, wearing a white T-shirt and jeans.
“Who’re you?” Bill says.
The child answers, “I’m here for you, Bill.”
Bill falls asleep with the kid holding his hand. When he wakes, the kid is gone. That was ten years ago. Bill is still cancer free.
His wife is pregnant with a child. There are complications. She has the baby prematurely. The child has a weak heart. He lasts two years.
The death is a shock. He and his wife mourn so hard that they aren’t sure they’ll ever recover. And they don’t—at least not together. They divorce. He moves out, she gets the house. It’s ugly.
One day, he is at a jobsite, running electrical wire in a pine-framed house. There is an elderly man who shows up. The man looks homeless —long bearded, layered clothes, gaunty. They start talking. The old man is friendly.
In the middle of their conversation, the old man says, “I think you oughta go back to your wife.”
The young man just stares at him. He’s thinking, “How’d this guy know I was married?”
“Go to her. Go now.”
The man wanders away and is not seen again.
After work, the young man calls his wife. She tells him that her sister has just died this morning. She is a wreck. He hops a flight to be with her. He stays with her through the worst. And he stays after that, too.
After fourteen years they’ve made a beautiful life for themselves. They are the proud parents of twin girls.
I don’t know what you’re facing today. Maybe it’s something bad. Maybe it’s not a big deal. Maybe it’s a late car insurance payment. Maybe it’s something fatal. Maybe it’s something worse.
Well, I don’t have any knowledge on how the universe works. I don’t know anything about the nature of life, and you have no reason to care about a word I say. But if you’ve read this far, there’s something I want to tell you, friend:
You’re not alone. Not even for a moment.
That’s not an opinion.