So, my son Jacob and I decided it was time for a father and son getaway and we love taking Amtrak to allow us to stretch our legs and minds. Riding the train (for us), is therapeutic because it allows us to slow down and look at our beautiful world and meet ALL kinds of people.
After taking the train and spending the weekend in Denver with Jake and yes, in 70-degree temperatures, it was suddenly and sadly time for us to return to Iowa. Jake and I had such an amazing time and I think it is such a special opportunity to meet new people in new places. We laughed….a lot too, which is the ultimate Soul Vaccination.
As we entered Denver Union station to board our train home, I was suddenly overcome with God’s grace and I stopped to look up and was speechless with the glory of the moment. God told me to listen with my eyes and I told Jake that we are going to meet an angel….of course he was like, “C’mon dad, you’re holding up traffic!” Let me be clear, I usually don’t do these things or have these feeling….seriously! SEE ATTACHED Picture of “The Moment”.
Anyway, after I had “my moment”, Jake said that we should sit outside because it was a beautiful evening and we could spot trains, which we love and have a passion for more than most train geeks, and know a lot of things about trains down to infinite details. So, as we were sitting outside and talking, a young man approached us and I was selfishly like, “Oh no, who is this guy, and he looks like he is a little rough.” The young man began speaking rapidly and moving back and forth and naturally I am thinking this is not a person I want to be around. Then, he started talking about trains and in more detail that I had ever heard….I mean elaborate details!!
After a while, Jake and I looked at each other in astonishment and Jake said, “Dad this person is a genius.” I agreed, and we both knew that this young man was also Autistic. Then, I am wondering how and why is he here without any supervision? He talks to strangers and he might talk to the wrong person. Remember, I was ready to walk away or worse, tell him to leave my son and I alone, so this could not end up well for this vulnerable person.
Well, out of the shadows a women emerged with a cart and luggage. She came right up to Jake and I and said, “My name is Victoria, thank you for talking to my son Matthew, as he is a little nervous because he is travelling to Naperville to see his father for the first time alone on the train. I immediately responded by saying that Matthew is a brilliant young man and we have been utterly amazed with the complexity of knowledge he has. She responded with a thank you and that of course, she agreed with my assessment.
So why this story?
There are a lot of lessons for us men to consider here:
In closing, I gave Victoria (Matthews mom) on the station platform my card and I told her that she can call me and that Jake and I would check on Matthew. She was clearly touched by our offer and she texted me within the hour to thank me for being Matthew’s guardian angel on his first trip alone. Jake and I had two of the finest home made doughnuts in the worlds we were going to savor on the ride home, but Jake said we should give them to Matthew. I thought this would be a grand Idea the next morning before disembarking at Ottumwa, Iowa, Jake and I went back to Matthew’s car one last time to check on him and we gave him our cherished doughnuts, Matthew was elated! Later that day, Matthew’s mom sent me a thank you note and attachment of a picture of Matthew with our doughnuts. She said he was saving them to share them with his dad. Unbelievable!! SEE ATTACHED, “The Joy of God’s Grace”
My son notched another hole in his belt to manhood and I have long admired Jake for his giving heart and compassion towards others. Jake is going be a father someday and I KNOW he is going to be a special man, husband and dad.
I am eternally grateful and at peace knowing that I have Ox Strong in my life. I have become a better father, son, husband, brother, and leader.
1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
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Nate Smith is a college baseball and football coach, a husband, a father of 6 girls, grandpa to 3 granddaughters, a police chaplain, a pastor, and has a passion to see men grow in Christ.
#girldad including granddaughter