No Instructions

I’m currently sorting through stories of the past year. Of people I’ve met along this journey, those I’ve told and some I have not for various reasons. Maybe they looked sick and I didn’t want their illness to make it seem as though I had singled them out or that my prayers were a kind of substitute for feeling sorry for them. Others I just flat out may not have been in a tellin’ mood.

But others –  a few I told and walked away indeed with a story or a request, or if nothing else a moment where they stopped making change and smiled, nodded, and felt like someone had noticed them in a very Hey you are someone special kind of way.

Here are a few questions people have been asking me a lot – How do you do it? Do you ask their name? Do you actually stop them in public?

Answers: I don’t know. Always. And, yes.

I don’t think you have to tell someone for it to matter. It will matter to you that you have opened your eyes a little wider to what is going on around you.

If I choose to tell – it’s just about like this always. I don’t want to. Like diving headfirst into a chilly creek – one just like the Econfina Springs in Florida in my teenage days. Fact was: No matter how hot the August day,  or how many screaming, laughing friends with me, I just didn’t want to jump in that water. And the fact is: I still don’t want to jump into the water of someone’s  life even if I am basically only brushing the sleeve of their existence. I do it anyway. I just jump in.

I ask names because I think they are important although I’ve also quickly told people that they didn’t have to tell me their name at all.

And then I say a few words about their uniquely standing out to me and that I was saying prayers for them before I went to sleep. (I think that takes the pressure off of them thinking I’m going to somehow embarrass them in public.) Occasionally, I ask if they have anything special they need and many, many times they say – Yes.

There’s nothing safe about the telling. Or about this life. Every person you meet, embrace, speak to or silently pass with a reverent blessing will be as individualistic as you are. And so will your ensuing experiences.

But if all your prayers for strangers are whispered in silence at the end of a long day filled with life, lamentations, and love, then carry on.

We all need each other in the best way.


About River Jordan

Writer, Creative Conversator, Radio Producer/Host
This entry was posted in Prayer, Spirituality. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to No Instructions

  1. Dana says:

    River, thanks so much for the challenge and encouragement! Last Friday, I encountered a young lady at a pay phone who liked the bumper plate on my car that says, “Trust God”. I told her I had been challenged to pray for a stranger every day and that she would be my special prayer emphasis that day. She was teary-eyed when she said she was going through a difficult financial time right then and appreciated knowing someone would be praying for her. It’s a privilege to be able to bless someone like this!

  2. Fran says:

    I had checked out at WalMart and was waiting for someone to come and accompany me to my car to load up my purchases for me….it took a fairly long time, but finally a skinny middle aged man slunk up, looking so sour I figured he’d been weaned on a pickle. He didn’t speak a word nor even look up and I was thinking what a miserable old bastard he was as we trudged wordlessly across the parking lot. I opened up my trunk and he began unloading the dog food, toys and treats for Bud when he remarked: “Gee, Lady, you must really love your dog a lot. My brother called me yesterday and I had to go put his old dog down for him. He was real old and real sick and my brother just couldn’t do it; he’s a full grown man but he was cried like a baby.” With this, he started telling me about when his dog own died and tears began rolling down his cheeks and a split second later the two of us were standing in the hot parking lot of Super Wal Mart with our arms wrapped around each other, both of us just pure SOBBING together, comforting each other! Tonight I will pray for the grumpy guy and his brother. Ain’t life grand? Ain’t God good?

  3. River Jordan says:

    Isn’t it amazing what a stranger can suddenly mean to another stranger. Once we break free of our self imposed bubbles we can actually connect with each other in memorable ways. Thanks so much for sharing your stories!

  4. Cynthia Sadler says:

    I have encounter many strangers on the street, and find my self always in a hurry…To the little lady I passed in the grocery store the other day who needed my help…I am glad I stopped to give her that helping hand, even though I was a little put out..My prayers went with her has she slowly moved down the aisle…What made me do this was seeing your blog on strangers that very same day..Thanks for that.. I also recently started posting Quotes on my face book page.. In fact so much that I felt that I was quoting in a ordinary conversation with others.. I Thought about stopping them; never realizing how much they have touched the strangers I have encounter.. I have received so many comments from others on how much they have enjoyed them and to please keep them coming… In fact, in truth these strangers have help me in many ways.. So I will continue…

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