Last night, despite my truck having been in the shop for a week and my wariness about it’s drive-worthiness, Austin and I made it to Idaho. After snagging a parking spot with easy exit so I could make it to my morning delivery, I entered the mom and pop truck stop to have a look around.
Even though I’d stocked up on food before leaving Salt Lake City, I was in the mood to be around people so I headed for the all night restaurant and grabbed a booth. The place was nothing special. Looked like it was built in the 1950′s. So did most of the people, both customers and workers. They even piped in country songs that were popular when I was born.
Halfway through my chicken fingers and tator tots, two young men sauntered in and took the booth directly in front of me. They were as conspicuous as the Gerber baby at a dentures convention. Apparently, I was not the only one who noticed. After a sudden crash of ceramic plates to the floor and a deafening shrill from behind the counter, my waitress came running over to them and hugged the big member of this Mutt and Jeff duo.
“I knew you’d come back,” she uttered between tears and gasps. “While everybody else didn’t think so, I was still believing. And here you are.” “Here I am, mama.” He finally managed. The brute swiped a tear away from his eye as he stood and embraced his mother.
I allowed them their moments of bonding but after what seemed life forever to me, the curiosity in me escaped and I did what I’m so famous at doing. I began bombarding them with questions. I just had to get the scoop in this joyful mother and son reunion. When Chipper was a boy, his estranged father took him and fled. That’s kidnapping in the state of Idaho, but although a manhunt ensued, they never tracked them down. All of Evie’s friends and relatives eventually gave up hope that Chipper would ever return. After all, he was only eight and even if he could get away, he wouldn’t remember where to come back to. But not Evie. “No matter what they said, I told them I was still believing that Chipper would come back. I just knew I’d see him again.”
I asked Chipper how he was able to pull it off.
“Well, first of all, I turned eighteen last week and as of that day, he couldn’t stop me. For for ten years, I saved every penny I got. I worked mowing grass, washing cars and anything else that would pay me. I stashed the money away where he couldn’t find it so that whenever I could, I’d be able to fly back to here. I waited until I was legally an adult so I could be on my own and not be taken by DCF.
“Last week on my birthday, I called the police while he was passed out drunk and when they came to our house in Minnesota, I told them what had happened. They checked it out and he still had an outstanding warrant. So they arrested my dad. I took his truck since I knew he wouldn’t be needing it and drove back as fast as I could.” Chipper then turned to his mother and said, “I told you I’d come back.” Evie hugged him again and said,”That was the last thing you said and I never stopped believing that.”
Before the moment Chipper and his still nameless friend entered the lazy diner as the Idaho sun dropped below the horizon, it had been a normal day. Nothing special. Nothing noteworthy. Or so I thought. It made me realize nothing is ordinary. Nothing routine or mundane. God is forever orchestrating reunions, working miracles, and manipulating the entire universe to bring about His will. As I walked back to my truck, I felt secure and blessed that through all the difficult circumstances I’ve faced in my life, like Evie, I’m still believing. I understood what a gift that truly is.
I believe in miracles. I believe in the goodness of others. I believe in the resiliency of the human spirit. No matter how tragic life becomes, I still believe. My hope and prayer is that you do, too.