Said the young man who sat down beside me on the bus, as he placed his hand on my shoulder. "What happened to your foot!? Would you like me to pray for you?" he repeated.
He took me by surprise. Anyone watching would have thought this man was a very close friend from the way he acted and spoke. The second he stepped on the bus his eyes caught mine, and he immediately shouted a friendly Hello! How are you!?". He actually had me thinking it was someone I knew, and I was just failing to place him, but no, he was a complete stranger to me. He deposits his change, grabs a transfer from the driver, and turns to face down the aisle of the 85% empty city bus, and quickly plunks himself down in the open seat directly beside. Placing his hand gently on my shoulder he says "What happened to your foot!? Would you like me to pray for you?" Taken slightly by surprise, I muttered "Uh, I broke it, um, Sure? Athough next stop's mine, so it's gotta be a quick one!". He says okay with a smile, and pulls out his cell phone which has some type of prayer beads or rosary attached to it, and stares intently down at the screen.
I don't know exactly what it was he googled, but it was some type of prayer, a Catholic one I'm thinking. He clicked a link and again placing his hand very gently on my shoulder, he lowers his head and starts very quickly reading through a prayer. Still somewhat taken aback by all of this, I smile and push the button to request the next stop and politely lower my head, as well as slightly closing my eyes. I guess I just assumed that's what you're supposed to do in these situations? Or at least that's what he did, so I mimicked his body. I dunno. "...Amen!" he says very quickly, and I say the same, thinking he is finished. But he bows his head again, and once again starts to pray, although this time it's a speedy little prayer in his very own words, praying for my foot to heal and for everything to be well for me. Once again he says "Amen" and I once again echo his words.The bus pulls up to my stop, and I politely say "thank you, that was nice of you! I hope you have a great weekend" as I hobble towards to front of the bus and make my way off.
As I started to make my way home, plenty of things came to my mind. I am by no means a religious person, never have been. I don't believe in a 'God' or 'Creator'. Sure, for a year or so of my childhood my Mother forced us all to go to church during what I can only assume was her own search for some type of spirituality, but that didn't last. My Father grew up in an extremely religious home and ran from it at the first chance, so while he was very accepting of religion, it wasn't something he himself was down for. Eventually we didn't have to go to church any longer, and the topic was pretty much dropped. It was never something I felt I could connect with even when young, and at age 12 my Grampa died, any remaining hope of religion in my household was openly questioned and almost ridiculed by my Mother. Regardless, it just never seemed like it was for me, and when I was old enough to make an informed decision for myself about various religions and spirituality, I still could never find one that felt good. Mainly because, well, science, but that aside, I just couldn't find any one that felt 100% right for me, and that was important. What seems to satisfy me now is just a simple philosophy of positivity and negativity. And of course, good ol' science.
But I felt good after that encounter today. Even though I didn't share or agree with his beliefs, I absolutely appreciated his intentions, and it was really quite touching. Many of the random people who comment on my cast/crutches will joke and say "sure you weren't drunk?" along with a playful jab, or tell how it must suck to deal with crutches in the winter. But it felt as though this young guy, for whatever reason, truly cared, and wanted to somehow help or positively impact my healing. Which is admittedly odd for me, as this approach for prayer from a stranger has happened maybe twice before, but had always left me feeling rather...out of place, instead of full of praise. Of course I appreciated the gesture in the past, and have never been rude, but I guess this guy was just... different. I'm still sitting here reliving this experience as I type, trying to figure out what it was about this guy that was so different, and I'm left thinking he just really did care, and want to help.
Don't get me wrong, this is by no means suddenly making me want to find Jesus and preach his word. It did however, further solidify my admittedly simple belief in 'positivity', and the strange and wonderful effects come from being open to it. I could have easily said "no thanks, not religious", and passed up the opportunity to see this complete stranger offer me such kind and positive thoughts about my healing, regardless if that speech happened to end with "Amen".