I was coming back from being out of town this evening when I passed a drifter out in the middle of nowhere. I have seen many drifters, but for some reason, this one just struck me.
He was an older man, standing on the side of the road, well in between any towns. He had very long, unkempt hair that was a yellowed white, and a long bushy beard.
He was just standing there, staring off into the pine trees on the side of the road. He was walking opposite of traffic, so it was apparent he wasn't looking for a ride.
So, you know how philosophical I become when I am out riding along on my own.
I thought of this guy, almost like those empty houses that you pass, falling down from the neglect of no one to care for them.
What happened to him? I mean, one day did he rise before anyone else and just disappear? Did he have family, somewhere, who longed to know where he was, or who had long decided he was gone, maybe even dead?
Was he suffering like the man in the graveyard, needing someone to come along and deliver him?
He stood there, staring blankly into the woods, and from my point of view, there were no apparent answers to any of life's questions written in those shade covered rows. But he looked as if he was in desperate need of an answer.
This man, at one time, probably had a job, a family, a life. And I don't believe he just woke up one morning and, out of the blue, packed up his belongings and just disappeared.
Just like I don't believe the backslider awakens one day and finds themselves totally disengaged from anything even remotely resembling godliness.
Before the eyes of his family and his friends, this man began to vanish. He began to close himself off, and shut himself down. He began to cut ties with anyone who cared about him, and then one day, he was just gone.
Maybe he had done it in such a way that he walked away without anyone even noticing.
Now, he stands alone. Gone from all those that cared, gone from whatever life he left behind.
Maybe over lunch, or at family gatherings, someone will say, "I wonder what happened to him?"
But, that will probably be the extent of their thoughts.
Just like me, sometimes at church, I will think, "I wonder where they are now?"
And then I just keep going.
Lord, help me to be sensitive to those around me. Let me see those hurting souls who are pulling away. Let me feel the distance and reach out to them before it's too late, and they are gone forever. And, help someone to see that in me, should I begin to falter and grow distant and cold in You. I love You.