“Let’s go talk to her.”
“I don’t want to go talk to a random lady.”
“She’s in need.”
Grayson glanced back, examining her a moment longer. “She seems fine to me. Just a tired lady waiting at a bus stop.” Grayson just kept pushing his brother’s wheelchair across the street.
A moment later, pushing up a hill Grayson said, “I know what you’re thinking. You want me to remember what Mom said.”
Jazz was quiet.
Grayson got his brother’s wheelchair to the top of the hill and said, “So, you’ll just stop speaking if I don’t listen to you or something?”
It was a moment before Jazz spoke. “Well, I’m not just gonna keep fighting with you.”
Grayson watched a couple of flirty coeds from the local college walk by. His eyes glazed over as he felt a longing for the old frat party days.
“Keep your eyes forward bro. I know what you’re thinking.”
“You’re so stupid, Jazz. I just want to leave you at home sometimes.”
“I know big brother, he said humbly.” And a moment later said, “I am thankful for your service.”
Before their mom had died she had asked Grayson to take care of Jazz. When he did a good job, she would always say that same thing: “Thank you for your service, Grayson.” But she would lower her voice so only he could hear and often add, “But also remember what he saved you from.”
Grayson took a breath and reminded himself it was worth it. And it often was, but now he just felt like carrying Jazz was just hard.
“Hey brother, let’s head up that hill.” He pointed up another hill that led into the campus.
“Why?!" Grayson was already puffing. "What do you see? We’re just like five blocks from home and it’s totally not that direction.”
“I think we’re supposed to.”
“Just trust me, please.”
“Well, what do you see?!”
“I think they’re fighting. We need to bring peace to them.”
“I don’t see anybody, and that sounds stupid.”
“Ahh!” Grayson started pushing him up the hill, “But if this isn’t worth it, I AM gonna stop listening to you.”
When they got to the top they saw a kid who was sitting on a low wall on the side of the sidewalk, slouched with his head lowered in his phone. “Stop!” Jazz whispered to Grayson. Grayson slowed, because to stop seemed awkward.
“Hey, big guy, are you okay?” Jazz asked.
The skinny Korean kid looked up and tears were in his eyes. Grayson suddenly stopped. Wow, his brother had definitely sensed something.
The kid nodded as if he didn’t want to be bothered.
“Hey really, what happened?” Grayson pushed further for some reason. “Did those guys say something to you? I feel like there was something very specific they said that was really horrible.”
The kid looked up and tried to figure out Jazz and Grayson. “How did you know that?” He said.
“I can see things sometimes.” Jazz said. "It’s a gift God has given me so I can help people. Would it be okay for you to tell us what they said to you?”
The kid swallowed and put his phone down at his side. “Um, I guess.” He looked both ways, puzzling about where this mysterious duo came from. He swallowed and began,“Um, those guys are my landlord’s kids. And they're distant cousins and they hate me. They said that I would go just like... my mother." He struggled and they could see his anger boiling. "She committed suicide last year, in our house. Well, my house now. I’ve… I have been struggling with... ideations a lot."
Grayson looked down at Jazz, but Jazz was not phased. This was his sweet spot. “My friend, God wants to tell you that you must hold on because your father is coming to find you. I’m not sure if that means anything for you. It might just mean your Heavenly Father but that's what I think I'm hearing.”
“Um, okay? How did you--? I mean, I was adopted. Okay so I’ve never met my real father but I’ve written letters to him asking him to come for years. And now that mom is gone, I’m living by myself in that house where she… killed herself. If he is really coming, I might be able to hold on.”
“Wow that was amazing, Jazz!” Grayson said as he rolled them away. I love it when stuff like that happens. It just recharges me to keep living like this. Great job. I don’t say it enough, being your legs gives my life meaning. Like you know, I’d be wasting away in the bars and football games without you. It’s amazing what you can do.”
“I'm Just listening, bro. I don’t have legs that work, but my ears do.” Adventure sparked in his voice. “Hey, let’s do the down-hill thing.”
“Ha! Are you sure?”
“Yeah, jump on, man! Kick off the breaks.”
Grayson stood on the back of the wheelchair and they started rolling downhill, faster and faster. Jazz squeezed the tires a couple times which kept them straight and in control, but at the end of the hill they rolled to a stop and Grayson jumped off and rolled on the grass. “I love doing that! I forgot how fun that stuff is!”
“Better than bars and football?”
“Oh my gosh so much better.”
“Well, Thank you for your service, big
“And thank you for what you’ve saved me from.”
Sometimes we need to remember carrying God with us is hard. It’s not the default that our culture operates in. If we don’t intentionally take him with us, we’ll leave him behind each day. And when we start to feel like we could be using our time better doing other things, it’s good to remember that though it’s work, and takes sacrifice to carry God with us, it’s so worth it. We’ll be guided down paths we would have never found on our own.