It is child’s play much of the time, what we are doing here, living in the Kingdom. And we are royalty, after all, adopted as heirs.
Me? I wake up alive, pray across the river out of downtown, and go out and deliver the goods. Then, ten or eleven hours later I reverse course, a little tired (not by much), dirty (by much), with ink under my nails and the remains of the day ahead. Easy, free, and natural it is, with only a thing or two or three amiss.
But, last Wednesday I was off and I’d been invited by friends to join them for breakfast out in Beaverton. Fine and finer people live in that suburb of Portland, and it is an easy MAX/bus ride out there. But, last Wednesday, due to construction, it became a bus shuttle and then a MAX train ride to the transit center. Still, easy easy in the scheme of things. There is a scheme, right? Of things, sure, but in this kingdom too, believe me.
Breakfast was good and the conversation with these dear friends was gooder and the prayers with them were gooder still. Bread of Life kind of stuff.
It’s hours later and time to go back toward downtown, and I need to go out to southeast Portland, around Hawthorne and 56th for a thing, so I am at that same transit center waiting. I have a kind of schedule in my brain, because of the thing, but I am not especially pressed for time.
I look to my right and there is an older woman with a small suitcase. I cannot keep my mouth shut with older women and men, so I said something about traveling. Yep she is, headed to help her sister who is having surgery. Oh, here’s the train, so we sit near each other and I help her secure her rolling bag. If you place such a bag so that the orientation of the wheels runs perpendicular to the line of the train tracks, then the bag won’t roll around as much.
Okay, that’s done, now about that surgery, and hi I’m Timothy and she is Esther and we agree that the Bible is full of us, and I do believe that Esther is full of her Bible because in 30 seconds we are discussing ministry and churches and Luis Palau and the kid who was in my youth group back in that other life in Memphis who works in the ministry of Luis and my hip doesn’t hurt like it did because I have friends who pray (her: “Our God is an awesome God” me: “Yes, Esther, he is”) and she is 78 and next week she is going, for the sixth year in a row, to help with Royal Kids Camp because she knows that each one of those underprivileged kids is absolute royalty in this kingdom, and she must tell them that as long as she is able. They have to know that, she says, and suddenly we must get off the train and transfer to a shuttle bus and I am carrying her suitcase and she says what about your hip and I say I’m good, let’s make that shuttle and I will get on with you because you gotta get to the Blue Line to Tigard for your sister and we are at the Library MAX stop now kinda running because there is a train and the doors are open and she does a 78 rpm hop to get on and I hop an LP behind her, placing her bag with its wheels perpendicular and she says I am going to pray for you Timothy and I will not forget your name and I believe everything she is saying and all that we said, she and I, on that thirty minute trek that was filled with that certain kind of joy that I so, so want to share.
I hop off and begin crying as I amble up 10th Avenue. Of course.
While we are being entertained in the presence of the King.
Wait until you hear the abrupt but seamless ritard @ 5:10!
And then as one, they kick back into tempo toward a slow and extended finish.
Photograph “Playground” © 2018 Timothy Waugh