I had plans on Friday. Then at last minute, things came up and these plans fell through.
So I found myself on the road to Asheville with my dad, still without plans when we arrived in the downtown area for his meeting.
I wandered, at first a bit frustrated, but the more I walked the more I realized that being irritated by things beyond anyone's control that brought these plans to an end was only going to make me miserable. The weather was beautiful, the setting ideal. Sure, I was not spending this time the way I originally had planned and I had no idea where I was going or what I was going to do for the next three hours, but I certainly was not going to pout and waste a perfectly good afternoon. As I walked, I prayed for the people around me and the places they were going and the problems they were having, even though I didn't know them or anything they were going through. Soon an hour had passed without my noticing as I kept praying and walking and praying and walking. Finally, I prayed that, since God had obviously brought me there without plans for a reason, He would use me during my time there to be there for anyone who needed someone or just to be a blessing in someones day.
I parked on a bench and pulled out my copy of Lord of the Flies that I was working on and decided to just chill for awhile and give my feet a rest.
That was when I saw him. His feet were the first thing I noticed as I looked down at the pages of my book, and they were well worn, covered by a pair of broken in leather sandals. He wore a pair of camo patterned pants, a worn out grey t shirt, and a shockingly teal suit jacket. Travel mug of what I assumed was coffee in hand, he came up and simply asked me if I had 50 cents I could spare so he could get on the internet. I had a random assortment of change, but no quarters, so using a lame excuse ("I'm so sorry! I legitimately have no spare change or I really would give it to you!") I told him I didn't. I thought he'd move on with this, but instead he noticed the book in my hands. "Dude! I read that book in high school. It's a good one. How far in are you?" He asked, enthralled. I answered his question simply and politely, not really knowing what to say. He asked if I was into poetry, and the next thing I know he's sitting next to me showing me a book of poetry he carried with him at all times.
I knew the reason He had brought me to Asheville without plans.
For the next hour, I sat on that bench talking about poetry and music and the reason he was there at all. His name was Donnie, but he went by Moonfry. His life was not glamorous, but judging by the smile on his bearded, youthful face, you could tell there was something about him that was happy, although troubled. Two months on the road had taken him from New York through Tennessee and now into Asheville; next destination unknown. He had been jumping on trains and living off nothing, living in tents in the forest and (like he had the night before we met) sleeping in bushes to keep out of the rain. He read me the poetry he had written and showed me the tattoo of Donnie from The Wild Thronberries that he had on his left arm and told me how he really wants to go back to school for graphic design.
The craziness of his life and the hard times he had seen or even the teal suit jacket were not what stood out to me about this new friend. In the middle of our conversation, right as he told me about sleeping in the bush the night before, a cool breeze rolled down the street and a beam of sunlight hit us from over head. Smiling, he looked around and said simply, "The weather is beautiful today. Who the hell could complain about anything?"
There I was, this selfish little eighteen year old home from college for the summer, arriving in Asheville unpleasant about spoiled plans, sitting on a bench with a homeless man without a penny to his name, and I was the one who had been complaining.
Suddenly, my fallen out plans didn't seem quite so monumental anymore.
After the hour had passed, I knew I needed to be getting back to meet my dad before we left. Apologizing for needing to leave, I reached into my purse and pulled out a hand full of coins. "It isn't much," I told him, "But every little bit counts, right?" He nodded and accepted the handful of coins, shaking my hand and saying, "Hey, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. It was nice to actually have a conversation with someone who has a brain for once," I told him it was no trouble and wished him luck on his travels, where ever they take him. With one last nod and well wishing, he bounded up from the bench and back into the real world as I walked away down the sidewalk.
Plans fall through and people let you down, but just because these things happen doesn't mean we should ever forget the blessing we have in our lives. From a roof over our heads to simply clean clothes to wear each day, we should never take for granted the blessings in our lives.
Thank you, Donnie Moonfry, for that hour. In some ways, I think you blessed me more than I could have ever done for you.