Sandy Relief Revisit | Brother Davis

Brother Davis was a big man.  And I don’t say that to be mean.  I say it to be true…so you get a picture.  If you’ve followed these Sandy Relief Venture posts, you’ll remember the story of Brother Davis and the fractured bike we found him pushing down the road.  (Guess who is coming to lunch…)  It was pure joy to bless him with a new bike; one that would hold up while holding him up.  The way his wide face grinned and wept at the same time…he beamed with blessing.  Gave us all golden goose bumps.

Well, I need to revisit the big man for a short bit.  You see, he hung around for a few hours on end the day he received the bike.  He just sat quietly in the middle of a room under construction and never stopped smiling at whoever looked his way. 

At one point I wandered over to him and pulled a chair next to his.  I sat close to him.  His size made me feel safely disarmed.  I suspect that was the case with most who meet him.  I struck up a conversation with him about the church and the town and the storm, and what they all have in common.  His answers were often short and slow.  No wasted breath.  Intentional words with love, that’s what I heard. 

I asked him about his family and his life.  He came to America from Jamaica with his wife and daughter.  He added a few other details at the time.  Then somewhere in my query there was a question – and I don’t even know which one it was – but there was a question that struck a chord in Brother Davis. 

His posture changed.  His chair groaned as he shifted in his seat so he could face me.  His voice revved up as he cleared his throat.  He wasn’t about to let these next words drown in the construction noise:

“I came to New York to find a better life.” 

His Jamaican droll was more calculated and clear than ever.  He continued:

“I found people are da same no matter where you go.”

He paused to breathe.  The effect was gripping.  I was hanging on for dear life. 

“But so is da Lord.”

Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”  I suspect the proverbial author is going for a picture here.  You probably get it.  Brother Davis’ word to me was fitly spoken.  Truth that was both beautiful and valuable at the same time.  Truth you hold onto forever.

There was silence after that.  I’m not sure I said anything before I stood up and went back to work.  I’m not sure I needed to.  He knew his words went deep; all the way to wherever it is in us that faith like a mustard seed is planted and grows.

Later, after everyone received his smile, Brother Davis rode away.  His chromed out bike beat the cracked and weathered cement sidewalk.  I’ll see him again.  He’ll be the one on a silver bike riding down streets of gold.  You can be sure I’ll watch for him.


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