"We're road dogs man, road dogs. Once you start living the life, you can't stop. It's addicting man." So I picked up 2 hitchhikers on my way to work this morning and ended up riding with them for about 25 miles, ending with a drop off at the Greyhound Station in Salem. It was interesting, to say the least.
You see, AJ and Travis are trying to get to Humbolt, CA. They are going there to "trim", which I found out means to get weed. Hopefully, they say, they will get enough to sustain a trip back to Portland, or in AJ's case, back to Missouri to the hippie commune that he lives in. Yes, hippie commune. I asked him about life on the commune, and he said they get $150 a month, but can eat, drink and do anything that the land produces for them. The commune provides shelter and food and a way of life, I suppose. But not much more than that.
Travis is recently divorced (for the 3rd time, as I found out) and is actually making a stop in Eugene to "get my Subaru back from the ex...hopefully she filled it up with gas" (wouldn't count on it!) Travis claims to have 3 degrees and to have a job offer from the City of Portland for $34/hr, plus benefits. Tough for him to take, he says, due to being addicted to being a "road dog". Needless to say, I encouraged him to take the job.
But what struck me most about this brief encounter actually started last night. Ashley and I were lucky to have been invited to a great dinner event on Sauvie Island. We talked at length about fellowship, being Jesus to people, mission, community, and a lot about "the least of these" from Matthew 25:40. I thought, as I picked these guys up, about the least of these and what that meant. Did it mean being poor? Does least mean being homeless or a road dog? Does the least of these mean not having a family? I decided that in this case, AJ and Travis epitomized the least of these, to me. They needed love, acceptance, and mostly, Jesus.
I did my best to love these guys. I asked them questions about whatever I could think of. I gave them all the water they could drink and whatever food I had in my car. Mostly, I thought about "the least of these" and hopefully that they saw something unique in our encounter. I didn't want to preach to them (maybe I should have, who knows) or affirm either that weed is the way of life. I just wanted them to feel cared for, even if for a minute or two.
Who are "the least of these" in your life? Is it a co-worker? An orphanage? A non-profit you are involved in? I know for me, today, the least of these was AJ and Travis.
Until next time, "The King will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me"." Matthew 25:40.
Seriously, you should run! Maybe you already do. But are you a part of a running group? I'm a huge advocate of this. There is a running group in Salem that meets out of Gallagher Fitness (http://www.activesalem.com/). They accommodate all types of running levels - beginners, sprinters, marathoners, etc. so no one is left out. I went on a run this morning with 6 people and we ran about 8 miles. On my own there is about zero chance of running 8 miles, but when you can chat and laugh and take some walk breaks with other people it isn't that difficult. I don't even have to mention the health benefit this either - I burned 1200 calories all before 8AM!
What got me thinking about this was when we ran by a gentleman who was probably in his late 60's or early 70's. He was cruising right along at a good clip and smiling all the way. That got me thinking - I want to be running fast when I'm 70. But I want to be doing it with friends.
Have you looked into a running club in your town? It is a great networking tool, a friend-making atmosphere, and a get-your-butt-in-shape thing. Check into it, you will not regret it. Until next time, go buy some Nike's and get running!