It's hard to believe that it's been nearly a year since I wrote my first letter to a passerby.
Last week, in the midst of everything, I had the chance to re-write that message. And in the end, it wasn't I that delivered help or hope, it was a stranger.
I was traveling along the expressway on Wednesday morning when I passed by a man, his arms frantically waving a newspaper wrapped in a red tie, running alongside of his car, which was emitting smoke from the engine.
I looked back at him in my rear view mirror, let my mind wander, and my heart steer the wheel while I backed down the side of the expressway to meet him.
He came bounding to my car, his accent heavy as he leaned his head in the window. "I am to be in court, in XX, eight miles down the road, can you help?" I nodded my head as I moved my belongings to the backseat and gripped my cell phone in my shaking hand, my finger set to press a pre-programmed number with one small tap.
He explained that he was due in court for a custody hearing; he had gone back to his native Kenya for a visit and when he returned, his wife was gone. Today was the day he was supposed to finally see a judge to make a decision on his parenting time.
"Thank you so much for stopping. So much. I was there for minutes, then I tied this tie on my paper, trying to get someone to see me. 'Can't you see me people'? I was thinking, 'I'm drowning here.' "
And there, in that very moment, each hair on my body on edge, my lip bitten, my eyes watering, I looked at him and smiled, and thought, "Not on my watch."
We chatted a bit more and I walked with him into the court house in case he needed verification of why he was a few minutes late. His case hadn't even been called yet. I handed him my card and wished him the best.
"Thank you. Thank you again. I believe that the good we do comes back to us. I believe God will repay you."
"I believe that he already has," I said.
And I walked out into the day, smiling, floating, really, as I realized that I could finally touch bottom.