He Heard Me


The only thing you can do when a cardboard box...

Every morning Jake followed the same routine. He took the cardboard box and folded it neatly and tucked it in his special hiding spot. He picked up any trash and papers he found and placed them in the dumpster.

He would walk the two blocks to the nearest gas station. He splashed his face with cold water. Pulled his comb out of his pocket and went through his hair and beard. He scrubbed his fingers.

Leaving the restroom he would walk to his favorite corner carrying his guitar. Finding a clean spot to sit he would take his hat off and place it upside down on the curb beside him. He would begin to play hoping to draw a few coins in his hat.

Every day all three seasons Jake did this without fail. The change he would collect would help to feed him for the day. Jake’s life didn’t used to be this way. At one point he was living in his own home. He worked at a factory in town. He played his guitar whenever he wasn’t working. He had begun to pick up odd jobs playing at different bars.

Life wasn’t something to talk about but it was good. Then one day he walked into work. As he took his time card to punch in he saw the white paper clipped to his card. He opened it and read the most dreaded words. Friday is your last day Jake. We are sorry to have to do this to you. We are downsizing and you are one of the older workers so we have to let you go. Please stop by my office for any questions. Signed, Management.

Jake was never able to put money a way. He lived week to week. By the time he paid his rent and his utilities, he had enough to buy his food and gas. What was he going to do now? What was going to happen to him?

He went ahead and clocked in and worked his shift. After work he went to the office and knocking he entered and was told to have a seat. ” Jake, I am so sorry we have to do this to you. The company is beginning to lose a little money so we had to downsize. Please understand that we think you are a great employee, but this is out of my hands. There will be a two-week compensation check along with your regular check. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. I will try my best to help.”

” Thanks Mr. Boss. I appreciate you being so honest. I know you can’t help it Boss. You are just doing your job. Thanks for the extra money. It will really help.” The conversation was over. Jake had two more days to work. He went home and instead of preparing his meal, he prepared his future by sitting at his table and praying to God.

Dear God, I have been given some bad news today. I don’t want to get all mad over this. I wish it wasn’t happening but it is. I don’t know what to do next Lord. I really need your help. Can you show me what a man my age can do now? Who will hire someone my age? I am old Lord, you know this. I may have not been a good servant and saved my money faithfully enough. For this I am sorry God. Now I have to lean on you to take me to the next place. Help me find a job Lord. I love you and praise your name always. Amen

Jake got up and started to fix his supper. After he ate he went in and bathed. He watched TV for a little bit but his mind kept going back to the Boss’s words. Finally after realizing he didn’t even know what was going on in the program, he flipped it off and retired to his bedroom.

He finished out his next two days of work and then it was over. He received his check and after cashing it he paid his rent a month ahead and bought as many groceries as he could afford to tidy him over.

He went to the different bars that he played in and asked if they had any extra hours for him but the answer was no. Just not enough business, sorry friend. For a few weeks he went out each work day and looked for a job but the answer was always the same, no, sorry.

His food was going down little by little. He still played for a few extra dollars at the bars but it wasn’t enough to help him stay a float. Each day he got down on his knees and prayed to God for help.

The day finally arrived he had been fearing. His money was almost gone. His food was low. His rent was now due and he had nothing to pay it with. He went to the local Salvation Army for help but they were out of funds.

Dragging his feet he walked the streets trying to figure out what to do. He saw the flower cart on the corner. A man was selling flowers. This gave him the idea to play his guitar hoping to get money.

Faithfully he did this every day. But the lack of nutritious food and restless nights took a toll on his body. He began to cough off and on. His lungs felt tight. He knew he was getting sick but he didn’t have any money to go to the doctor. He had been evicted from his home and now he slept in his car.

The weather was changing. It was  about a month before winter officially kicked in. Still he moved forth going to his favorite corner each day. On a chilly and windy day he was playing his guitar. He had gathered a few near him who stopped to listen and throw money in his hat.

He was taking a break and I think his body did too. He collapsed on his corner. One of the gentleman who had been listening pulled out his cell and called 911. Soon Jake found himself awake in a hospital room. An IV was hooked up to him. A nurse was taking his vitals.

” What happened to me? Where am I” Jake asked.

” You are in the hospital. You have pneumonia. We have you on antibiotics. You will be good as new before you know it”, the nurse spoke.

Jake relaxed a little and rested back on his pillow. I am going to rebuild my strength while I am here. I will be warm and out of the snow. I will get fed three meals a day. I just have to give this some time.

A couple of days after he had been in his room the stranger who stopped by to listen to Jake play made a visit to him. “Hey, I remember you. You were one of the people listening to me play. You put five dollars in my hat. I am so glad you stopped by so I can thank you proper for that nice donation” Jake said.

Kenny said, ” You must have been real sick Jake. You passed out right there in front of me. I am glad you are here getting help. What happened that put you to playing on the street?”

Jake explained his loss of job and home. Kenny listened without interrupting. After the story was told Kenny said, ” You know I am just a visitor in your town. I was checking out some stores in your area when I heard the strumming from your guitar. You play real nice Jake.

You know,,,,I think maybe we can help each other out. I need a guitarist who has a lot of experience and you need a job. Would you be interested in helping me out?”

Jake’s body began to tremble with excitement. A job offer, and doing what I love to do most of all.

” When would you need me Kenny?”

” As soon as the doctor releases you. I will make all of the arrangements to have you sent to my place. You will come stay with me in my hotel and then we will just go from there” Kenny said.

Jake shook Kenny’s hand so  hard it made Kenny laugh. ” Hold on there Tiger. You don’t want to get all worn out and have to stay here any longer than you need to. I will be back each day and see how you are. I want to thank-you for helping me out by taking the job. I will be back tomorrow. Take care of yourself and get plenty of rest” Kenny smiled and said.

After he left his room Jake cried from joy. He was going to be alright. He wasn’t going to be left to the streets to die. He was going to play his guitar, the love of his life. He looked up towards the ceiling and said, Thank-you Jesus. Thank-you for hearing my prayers.

Jake was smiling as he fell asleep. It was less than six months later when some people were standing in front of the appliance store. They were looking at the newest models of televisions being sold. One of the people pointed at the TV and asked, ” Hey, isn’t that the man who used to play here on the streets?”

I Was Once Lost


Jake had been sitting in his boat for a couple of hours fishing. The blue waters were calm. The boat rocked gently as another boat passed his way.

Life had not been exciting for him. He had done good in school. He always listened to his parents. He was never in any trouble with the law. He was smart and yet no one had observed his potentials.

Part of him felt he was a cast-a-way. At times he felt like he didn’t fit in anywhere. He had never sparked a young lady’s eye. Was this what life was all about? Just living with no purpose?

He suddenly jerked up from his thoughts. He had a nibble on his line. His Mama would be proud when he brought home a fine supper. Watching closely his line start to pull tighter. He stood at attention ready to snag this meal.

With a jerk the line took off. Jake was fighting to keep a hold of his pole. He was struggling. The boat began to rock faster. Waves  from the moving boat were trying to suck him in. He could no longer concentrate on his taut line as he was trying to hold onto his balance.

With a sudden jerk he was over the edge. The once friendly  boat turned on its belly and his gear floated in the water around him. He thrashed through the waters trying to rescue  his equipment he had saved for so long for. With one hand trying to grasp at floating objects, his other hand trying to turn the boat back over.

He was becoming tired. The nippy waters were hugging his legs. He took deep breaths as he went under the waters and then bounced back up. He yelled “help, help me someone”. No one heard him as he was too many yards from dry land.

Exhaustion took over his body and he felt himself slip slowly into unrealities of another world. He prayed quickly for a higher existence to save him. He quickly pictured his Mama and Papa and two sisters and mentally kissed them good-bye.

His body submerged beneath the waters; he became unconscious. How much time had passed him no one knew, by but when he came too he was lying in the bottom of a boat. Not his boat, but a strangers.

Someone had covered his wet body and he heard a voice talking to someone. He looked around him and didn’t see anyone else here. The guy flipped off the button on his walkie-talkie and looked at Jake.

“I just called shore-line and told them I was bringing you in. I saved your life son. You almost drowned” his rescuer said. Jake looked at him and said,” How did you find me”?

“I had been fishing back from you a ways. I saw your boat tumble and turn over. I hurried to you as fast as I could. It was no big task. Anyone could have done it. What’s your name son? My name is Kirby”.

“Jake” he said as he shivered and tried to sit up.

“Whoa there mate. Take it easy. Just relax. You had the life knocked out of you. Soon we will be back to shore and the pros can take a look at you”, Kirby said matter of fact.

For several moments no one spoke. Jake looked up at the blue skies filled with cumulus clouds. The sky seemed to go on forever and ever. Breezes were calm and the waters hitting the side of Kirby’s boat was all that could be heard.

” I heard you calling for help Jake before I ever laid eyes on your boat. Were you trying to drown yourself? Is your life that useless to you”?

Jake stared up at his face. He was thinking, if you were so far a way, then how did you hear me? I wasn’t talking to anyone particular anyways. I was just speaking to myself.

“What makes you think I would ever try to end my life Kirby? You said you were too far a way at first to see me. Did you hear me scream for someone to help me”?

God heard your cry Jake. He used me as an instrument to come save you. I never heard your cries for help. God knew you really didn’t want to die. You just felt all alone and didn’t think you had any other place to turn”.

Jake looked at him and started to cry. Through sobs he explained, ” I feel like I have no place to fit in this world. I feel like a drifter, like no one notices me”.

Kirby said, “God always takes notice of his children. There is nothing you do or say that he doesn’t know. Do you know God”?

“Well yes, I have heard of him. He  helps the sick people and even the poor”.

Kirby replied,” He helps all who ask in the sincerest of voices. He ignores no one. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or  poor or even sick. He heard you, and now I am here. I am one of your guardian angels sent here by God to help guide you. You have been floating and missing the doors of opportunities God has left ajar for you. Now you will know with a little help from the one above which way to go.

There is one thing you have to do first though before any of this can happen”.

“What’s that Kirby”?

“You have to acknowledge God. You have to tell him you love and  believe in him and that you trust him to walk you through life. It is pretty simple really. Instead of trusting your own thoughts, listen for God to speak to you. He has all of your answers”.

Jake began to seek the skies trying so  hard to see God. He knew that he wanted what Kirby was offering. Words started to flow from his mouth. “I want this. I want God to help me guide me. I feel so lost. I can not do it myself any longer. I just mess up all the time. Can you help me tell God I want him to be with me”?

Kirby stepped closer to Jake. He knelt down and took Jake’s hands and folded them into his. ” Dear Father, this young man is ready. He has been lost and now he wants to be found. Cover Jake with your love oh Lord. Bring him comfort and peace. Let him always know you are  here with him. Jake, do you believe there is a God”?

” Yes I do” the young man replied.

” Then repeat these words. Father I love you. I want you to come live in my heart and soul. Be my provider and my guide from this moment on. Let me listen for your words. Let me feel your love around me”.

Jake repeated each word Kirby had said. Suddenly he felt lighter. He felt no shivers rippling over his body. When he looked at Kirby he was looking at him with a grin that spread from cheek to cheek.

A renewed strength seemed to take over. Jake was ready to tackle the world. He sat up and wrapped his arms around Kirby and said,” Thank-you, thank-you so much for saving my life”.

” Don’t thank me young man. Thank your Father. For without him you would  be lost, lost to the seas”.

Looking over Cumulus mediocris clouds over sou...

 

The Morning Walk


Big Bike

Every morning as long as the weather was above the freezing mark Jake looked forward to his walk. The walk was journeyed on a hand-made boardwalk through the city’s funding. It was located in town but in a serene location. Jake could discover various things with each step he took.female cardinal at millersIMG_0103101_0592

Jake took in every sight and breathed in all the fresh air his lungs could take. He lived for his daily walk.

When he went back home it was to an empty house. The same stale air and the same sounds coming from the television.

One morning when he was walking some kids came whizzing by on their bikes. They looked at Jake but said nothing. Only breezes lifting Jake’s hair was the true evidence they had been here.

Using his cane he lifted it up in the air and touched some leaves dangling from an over hung tree. He managed to knock a few down and tucked them gently into his shirt pocket.

He would hope to take these home and using tape place them on his windows, a reminder of where he had been.

There was one spot Jake routinely stopped at. This is where if he stood very still he could catch glimpses of deer.

Where Jake had lived with his life long wife deer were plentiful. Many times he and his wife would sip coffee together and watch the families of deer scamper through the fields.

A tear came to his eye as he waited for them to show, memories of his beloved utmost in his mind. His wife had passed on to a better world over four years ago. Jake wanted to go with her but he knew it was not time yet, but he promised her he would be along soon.

Soon enough what he had been quietly waiting for showed. A deer all alone. She seemed not to take notice of Jake as she made her way through the tall grasses. Inching closer and closer to him. He could see her eyes. Such a gentle look they held. He smiled and lingered on her beauty.

Lost in the image he didn’t hear the noise coming up behind him. The deer did though and she scampered off quickly into taller hiding areas. This forced Jake to come to the reality of moments and he turned just in time to see the kids speeding by him.

One rider decided he was going to have some fun with Jake. Without asking permission he rode so close that he knocked Jake down to the ground. The other riders stopping a head and looking back asked,”What did you have to go and do that for? Don’t you get in to enough trouble the way it is?”

Most of the bicycles took off not wanting anything to do with their friend. One bike remained far enough a head but still taking in the scenes being played out.

The bully was not done yet. He was having a good time. He rode past Jake and turned around and came racing back. Jake saw it coming and he took his cane and shook it at the kid trying to scare him off.

Jake tried to hurry and get up but he thought he may have twisted his ankle during his fall. For when he tried to stand he winced in pain. All he had to defend himself with was his cane and his mouth.

The kid went a head and turned once again charging at the poor man lying defenseless on the wooden walk way. As he came close to Jake he was prepared for the cane but Jake gave it everything he had and he managed to make a cracking sound as his cane met the bike.

This pissed off the kid. He stopped immediately and wrestled Jake for the cane. Once he had it in his power he tossed it way out in to those tall grassy fields. There was no way he could escape now. He realized he was at the mercy of the dragon.

The bicyclist that had been watching took off on his bike. Now it was Jake against the wrath of fires. The kid got off his bike and proceeded to taunt him. Words came flaring out of his mouth.” Why don’t you try to get up now you old man? Come on what you waiting for? Cat got your tongue?” Every word he spat would follow by laughter. This sound infiltrated into Jake’s soul and he was fearful of his life.

There was no fear in the minor. He came closer and kicked Jake in the stomach. When he saw how easy it was to move the body he kicked him in the ribs and then in the head. Leaning back grabbing his stomach he was laughing; a mean laugh. This had to be as close to Satan‘s laugh as you could ever imagine.

The bully still had not had enough. Jake tried to curl himself up in a ball to further protect himself. He wasn’t strong enough as the kid grabbed a hold of his arm and began to pull him. Jake looked to where he was being pulled to and so much fear took over as he saw the edge of the walk coming closer he urinated on himself.

There was a rail along the boardwalk but under the support was nothing but open plains. This kid was going to kill him. Not with a knife nor a gun, but by drowning him. He was going to push him over the edge and leave him for the buzzards.

The kid struggled a little trying to move Jake. Jake was trying to kick the brat with his legs. The kid had enough of this crap and took a hold of  poor old Jake’s arms and started to yank him over the edge.

Behind the kid came two strong sets of fingers. They clamped down on his skin so tightly

Cop doing his job.

that the nasty kid’s face winced in pain. He flipped around to see two tall and muscular policemen standing there. The one officer had his hands on the bully and the other officer was tending to Jake.

“It seems that your friends ratted on you my friend. They turned to us to help you”. He faced the bully a way from him and slapped a pair of cuffs on the kid. ” Punk, you are coming with me. I will call your parents from the car and have them meet us at the station.”

The other officer helped Jake to sit up. He radioed for an ambulance. Jake ended up staying in the hospital for a few days with one broken rib, multiple bruises and an ulceration to his head.

With the kid being a minor he was released into the care of his parents. He had to attend juvenile court but was given a smack on the fingers and let go. Poor old Jake finally got to go home, but he didn’t wake up any longer eager for his morning walks. He sat in front of his television and began to nap more often throughout the day. The bully who he never learned of his name had taken his livelihood away from him. The two would never meet again.