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Turning away from the stage I felt the need to look behind me. Across the park I could see two men standing together in the pouring rain. One man was dressed in a dark coat and hat. He had his hand on a younger man’s shoulder in such a way I knew he was praying for him. This same young guy passed by a few minutes earlier but he didn’t notice us as we stood under our umbrella. He seemed under the influence of something more than the music.
Watching the interaction between these men, I was inwardly moved by something I couldn’t define. I began to pray and as I spoke from my heart I could feel hot tears on my cheek. It felt important to engage myself in this moment despite not knowing these men or them even seeing me.
After a minute or two the young guy seemed agitated and pushed himself away from the praying man. By the body language of the one in the dark coat, I could see determination. He did not stop loving and praying for this young man. He kept walking with him a short distance and finally something spurred the young man to turn back and hug the man tightly. His hug was long and genuine. The younger man was seemingly being drawn away but he kept stepping in close to hug the man in the coat as though apologizing. Clearly he was hearing the love being offered and still he struggled to accept it. Finally he waved once more and walked away for good.
My heart was wrenched as I watched the man in the coat look after him for a long moment before he turned back and began making his way towards the stage where we all stood. Trying to focus again on the music, I kept glancing over to check on this man. He was about twenty feet from us and whether from tears or from frustration, I could see him begin to wash his face with the rain water coming down over him.
Hesitating for a mere moment or two I looked at my husband and simply told him I’d be right back. The man in the coat was kneeling in the rain and it was clear he was beginning to pray. I already knew who he was praying for. Kneeling down next to him on the wet cement I merely asked, “What was his name?”
“Roy, his name was Roy” was all he said.
There under the pouring rain I latched onto my friend’s arm in the dark coat and we prayed together for Roy’s soul and his salvation. I never asked the name of my friend in the coat and hat. Him I recognized as my brother.