A friend who's had a couple of really bad years decided she had to get out of town, get far away from anyone and everything, for a weekend. She's there now, sitting in a tent in the middle of nowhere. Using a telescope she bought at a pawn shop to look at the stars at night. Her hope is that if she escapes all distraction, all comfort, that she will finally be able to talk with God, feel his presence. I pray that she is safe and that this is happening for her.
She doesn't have a car, and at first she asked me if I could help her find some abandoned dirt road and drive her and her gear out there. I had been worried about this trip ever since she told me about it...she's not in good health, she hasn't camped out, she wanted to go alone, and she didn't even want to take a cell phone. So, since I also didn't want to damage my muffler again on dirt roads (just had a new one installed last week), I said no. I hoped she would find a closer, less extreme way to get alone.
But she called a few days later to say that she had found a cab driver to take her, someone who knew the desert south of Tooele and would help her set up her camp. A cab driver may sound crazy, but she has been taking cabs for decades and this particular cabbie, Ray, has been driving her for over 20 years. He's a good scout.
He picked us up last night after work (my car was load with her camping stuff), loaded everything up in his van, and we took off for the desert. He did find a beautiful and very isolated place, surrounded by junipers, and set up the tent. He also helped us set up the rest of her campsite--fire ring, her little portable john, blowing up her mattress. And then we prayed before we left her.
Ray has a different set of spiritual beliefs than my friend and I do, and I was self-righteously hoping that his theology wouldn't creep in and ruin her weekend. How wrong I was. He spoke words that gave my friend the affirmation and confidence she needed.
On the way back, Ray and I talked about his children, my siblings, how he met his wife, his cabbie adventures, my problems. He said that people open up to cab drivers, tell them things they wouldn't tell anyone else.
Thanks, Ray, for your kindness, gentleness, and for being a good boy scout.