Here is the story of Rick Cheney. On the way to church, John asked if I would like to go to Legend’s in Norman for lunch and then to Oklahoma City for an event we discussed over breakfast. I happily agreed. As we turned off Highway 19 on the outskirts of Pauls Valley, driving up the ramp entering I-35, we saw a clean-looking man hitchhiking that looked unbelievably hot standing with his thumb out. He only had a small bag in his other hand. I thought about the times my car had broken down during my lifetime, and some kind person stopped to help me in some manner. I wanted us to pick him up but was still thinking when John said, “Do you think we should pick him up?” “Yes!”
As soon as he settled into the back seat of our car, I began asking questions about where he was going and a few questions about his life. He shared that his granddad taught him carpentry in his past. He earned his money to make this trip by working for a woodworking business in Austin, Texas. Now he was on his way to see his parents and a newborn grandbaby. It had taken several days to get this far. His first ride was with a young couple that he thought was nice, but when they stopped for gas, he decided to take the opportunity to go to the bathroom quickly. When he returned to the car, it was gone. They took his suitcase, money he saved from his carpentry work, clothes, everything, and cell phone. That was hard for him to digest. That led to a discussion about letting go, how God works, and my book, “When Spirit Speaks.” He asked for a copy. I said that I would be happy to send him one, so he gave me his Dad’s address and telephone number where he planned to be in Michigan.
By the time we got to Norman, we had invited him to go to Legend’s Restaurant with us. He was hesitant but said that he would be grateful. In Legend’s, as we went on visiting, Rick shared, “I have to tell you two something. I have been in prison. He was quite afraid that what he shared would have a negative reaction from us. However, I smiled and responded with, “That is okay, Rick; we have other friends that have been in prison.” I went on to share that John was a retired Judge. He thought that was interesting because his second ride was with a retired Sheriff. We took him onto Oklahoma City and dropped him off far North on I-35, where it might be easier to find another ride. We also gave him a small amount of money to help. When I got home, I telephoned his father. He was reticent at first but finally figured out that I was okay. I explained we picked Rick up,, and he was still fine and on his way. His mother called me back a few days later, wanting me to know their prayer group that met once a week was so happy we telephoned them. She said their whole prayer group wanted to make certain I knew how much they appreciated that telephone call because they had been praying every week in their group for Rick for years. After Rick visited with them for a few weeks and then left their home…vsited for the return trip, she wrote me a letter that I treasure.
That was gift enough for me, but guess what happened. Our minister requested John present a sermon at church. John quickly decided to speak about Rick and did so. He talked about scripture in the Bible and how generosity is given to others and often returns to us from the oddest places. During regular conversations the next few weeks, we learned that people hearing his sermon had gone into a restaurant and purchased someone else’s meal as a gift anonymously. A few months following John’s presentation, we went to Legend’s again. We ate well and then ordered a dessert and coffee. When John asked for the ticket, the waitress said that someone else in the restaurant had taken care of it.
I asked if it was a friend of ours that was also eating there. She said it was not. Pretty soon, almost all within the restaurant had left. We were in a great discussion. Only one other couple that was still there. I asked the waitress again if it happened to be a couple sitting not far from us. She would not say but smiled and nodded yes. I went over as we left and thanked them. It was so great. They were younger and said they had been watching us and just wanted us to have a great afternoon. Interestingly, they were Native Americans. Little did they know how much we had the opportunity to give on the reservation and did so many times. Our Native American experiences came into my heart with this gift of a beautiful meal at Legend’s Restaurant. They had no idea of our connection. How wonderful!
LESSON: Listen to both your gut and heart when making a decision. If the answer is yes, no matter how unusual it seems, follow that answer within that was received. We picked up a stranger that we later learned was a carpenter and had also been in prison. It reminded us of the story of the “good samaritan” in the Bible and Jesus.
GIFT: All three of our lives were touched. And that energy continued as I made contact with his Dad and later with his Mom. They, in turn, touched other peoples’ lives through their prayer group that had been praying for Rick.
It felt so good to have helped someone. Then when that young couple in Legend’s treated us, wow! My theory has always been “when you give to someone; eventually, you receive.”
When John was asked to do a sermon, he told our story about Rick. He also shared our philosophy of “To Love Is To Love All” and give. Buy someone’s lunch anonymously or unexpectedly. Pay for the person going through the line that you have never met, etc. Later, when you need it the most, watch what happens! God and Spirit are watching. It is an amazing life we have been given the opportunity to live!