i’ll admit, i’ve delayed writing this post. so much has happened in such a short period of time, that my filter has been on overload and, honestly, i just haven’t been sure how to sum up Toronto. this still won’t do it justice, but it’s an attempt. thank you for your grace.
Jesus in Cowboy Boots
some girlfriends and i spent the Labor Day weekend in the mountains of Tennessee, relaxing in a rented cabin. on the way home, i was anxious to get back so i took over driving just south of the Kentucky-Tennessee border. before even leaving the parking lot of a truck stop, i backed over a concrete block. i tensed at the steering wheeling, spewing apologies to the driver.
she got out of the car and, when she didn’t come back immediately, the rest of us dashed out to see the damage. there it was…i’d knocked the muffler and tailpipe from its bracing and it lay on the ground, like a beached squid.
i dropped to my knees as fears raced through my mind, the money it would take to fix, the hours, the fact that one of the girls wouldn’t make her bus back to Chicago. i was about to burst into tears when we heard a friendly voice ask if we had a wire hanger.
i turned to see a tall, good-looking young man in a cowboy hat and boots. i said no, and he disappeared into the gas station, returning with two hangers and some tools. he crawled under the car and begin the rig the muffler and tailpipe back up into their place.
“sir, can we buy you lunch,” one of the girls asked.
“no ma’am,” was the reply, in a deep, rich Southern accent. he finished, got up and began to walk away, without another word. we all stumbled over our thank-you’s, asking his name (Kenny, by the way), and telling him good-bye. he smiled but didn’t linger, our Jesus in Cowboy Boots.
it may seem like a poor comparison to Toronto, but it is still a reminder to look for God in the most unlikely of places: a truck stop in the backhills of Tennessee, the face of a heroine addict on the steps of a church, the words of a few homeless alcoholics calling you an angel.
in conclusion, Toronto captured a bit of my heart. our group formed a bond we have only been able to articulate as “family.” we had heart-wrenching conversations, and heart-challenging conversations. we watched the sun set over the city from 22 floors up, and saw the night come to life with people from all walks. it was unpredictable, and uncomfortable, and dirty and exhausting and yet…