Arnie came by way after dark the other night!
Long time-no see , young man.
Thinking back on when we met : years ago. I was still young enough to mow the lawns, prune the shrubs, plant and feed the roses. Loved it!
Arnie was just barely 10 years old then. He lived in the neighborhood, so often rode his bike past our home. He often looked angry...and very alone. Three boys about his age were neighborhood
little bullies and troubled many of the seniors . They threw rocks through windows, etc.
Arnie was a target for them. I could tell he was afraid , even though he tried to cover it by very harsh words and pent up anger.
One summer's day as I knelt in the far corner next to the front fence, planting some more lavender, brown, peach colored IRIS plants...Arnie rode up to the fence and started talking . He was so angry! He called the bully-boys really bad names . He even wished they would die. I asked him a few questions about his school vacation , his teen sister, etc. and he slowly calmed down. Then I asked him, "Arnie, wouldn't it be so much better to be the neighborhood HERO..rather than wanting to be so strong you can hurt those three boys?"
With great disbelief he said " How? That could never happen!"
In the next hour I told Arnie how Jesus had saved my life when I was younger, and how HE could make a neighborhood hero out of him. Arnie was very attentive, yet naturally skeptic.
I gave him cartoon type Christ centered lil' booklets from my apron pocket, and Arnie went away. I prayed , then went back to my work.
Later as I was inside preparing supper, Arnie knocked on the door , something he had never done before...never even entering the yard fence.
With reddened eyes and a soft voice , he said, " I read both those books...and I liked them" .
when asked if he prayed the little prayers at the end of the booklets, Arnie said, "Yes! I did...and
I feel different!"
Oh! I hugged that 10 year old boy and told him many things about Jesus.
Time proved that Arnie met Jesus that day! For the next years he rode his bike with a calm face, greeting and stopping to talk to the old ones in the area. He often stopped by to tell us of his schoolmates making fun of him...then later beginning to believe as they observed the changed Arnie!
When he outgrew that bike, he would walk by. Stopping to tell us of his (now) high school friends.
Of his attending regularly a Christian Young People's group meetings , and all the community helps they were doing together.
He stopped by when he graduated High school. He came again when he was attending his second year at Community college. His family moved , so much time would pass between visits.
The last one had been when he wanted to show us his big and beautiful Pickup truck!
Every time I saw him over the years, at our partings I would ask him, "Are you still taking Jesus with you , Arnie?" He always grinned and said, "Yes! OH, yes."
Then a long time passed and no sight of him...until the other night, way after dark, a knock on the door. As Papa opened it and I heard the voice , I said , "ARNIE! Where have you been , Son!" He said, "on the road", then continued to tell us that he drives big rigs cross country ..and he LOVES IT! He told about what he sees in New York...and how he enjoyed the state of Arkansas, etc. He was so proud and happy that it did our old hearts good . When he had to leave
I asked him , "Arnie , is Jesus still riding with you?" He grinned, a gentle grin, and said, "Yes! HE IS!" And then this tall man with his truck driver's hat and jacket waved and walked into the darkness. A real Neighborhood Hero.
Did I forget to say that Arnie is mildly Autistic?
elbow room - My focus today is to leave room for God to be who He is. Nothing is as it seems and I trust him.
9 months ago