Adam Bird

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Sunday, 27 February 2011

I've a Stalker in Jesus

Spiritual Graffiti

A coincidence for me is finding out that your birthday falls on the same day as the new girl you are dating, or buying a new shirt from Primani and wearing it to a party thinking “nobody will know it only cost me £4.99”, but when you turn up, someone else is wearing the same thing and you are subconsciously forced into avoiding them, whilst offering glances with knowing eyes for the rest of the evening. What then do you make of a series of occurring coincidences, all on the same subject, in a short period of time?

My first blog post in this series of #postaweek2011 articles was entitled Faithless not Hopeless, where I looked back at my attendance at last years Alpha Course and summarised my feelings and my own view of Christianity. I spoke about how my parents and surrounding family had an unnerving faith, which I was lacking, all due to not having the belief that they share - that there is actually a son of God and that they are having some kind of relationship with Him.

I thought that was it, my one and only post about faith, religion, Christianity or otherwise, get it over and done with, write about other stuff. But since then, a series of strange events, coincidental in nature have befallen me which I list in more detail below. Am I right in believing that I have a reader of this blog who could be defined as a “Higher Power”, or am I reading much too far into normal everyday things?

Firstly, over the course of two meals, both at my parents house, I heard during the first one, belatedly my Dad’s full and frank testimony. As I mentioned in my previous post, I had snubbed his baptism as an act of childish petulance. I heard him speak openly and honestly about how he was exiled out to Iran and the relationship with God he developed over the time that he was there. On my second visit, an impromptu “come dine with me” style evening which Stephanie and I were the only non believers in a party of eight.

After a Valentines day themed desert, a choice of either a heart shaped chocolate mouse or a decadent strawberry fool, conversation turned into something deeper. Stephanie and I heard how the couple who were dining with us used their unwavering faith as a mechanism for coping with the loss of their newborn son. Tears flowed from Stephanie as she tried to understand the complexities of such a breadth of emotion and how faith empowered it, whilst I sat with not much to say - how does one ask questions about something like that?

Ordinarily I would agree with you and taken my usual sceptical stance. Of course, if you keep company with people of faith, you are going to talk about it. There is nothing unusual or coincidental here. Unless you add it to the mix of my next few weeks.

Walking from the office to Charing Cross station, amidst the tourists, with their Canon or Nikon camera’s taking photographs of the pavement and equally uninteresting things, shoppers weaving in an out of stores laden with carrier bag’s whilst aromatic smells of a thousand restaurants waft through the air, stirring the stomach through a sensuous wringer. Telltale signs of consumer excess, western commercialism.

Commuters dodging around each other under a canopy of umbrella’s, racing to get home, fighting to remain dry, unlike the tramp. I call him that, as that’s all I ignorantly know. Not street person, not homeless person or whatever is politically correct. A tramp, hiding under a coat-cum-duvet, face hidden beneath his or her hood.

It’s February, it’s biting, freezing cold and the person within this man-made cocoon that doubles up as their home must be soaked, unimaginably uncomfortable, teetering on the edge of darkness.

But sitting there on the floor outside Leicester Square tube station, as the world goes crazily on around them, I see that this person is reading a book instead! Gloved hands with the tips cut off - mittens, holding a shaking book as steady as they can, entitled “The case for Faith”.

I had to double look back, nearly collided in amongst the pedestrian carnage that surrounds Leicester Square at rush hour. I had to see it again, make sure that it wasn’t a trick of the eye - was this really a book that a person in such a dire situation would read? If you were at the bottom of the bottom and in their shoes. Would you be reading a book of this kind?

Even now, would you consider the questions and answers of faith sitting there reading this on your laptop, Ipad or mobile device?

I’d previously read “The case for God” by the same author, Lee Strobel, a book I had borrowed from Mum in an effort to discover my own answers. I know what this series of books are about. They are not considered easy reading, experts from the fields of science, history, theology, philosophy all try and understand and answer some of life’s hardest questions.

Chapter 6: If God really created the universe, why does the persuasive evidence of science compel so many to conclude that the unguided process of evolution accounts for life?

Was this sighting a coincidence maybe, or was it something more?

Outside Charing Cross station, you get an assortment of, what shall we call them - characters? Eccentrics, weirdo’s, people who don’t conform to societies perception of normal. Like the African man of a morning who will be shouting incoherently about how the government has murdered his ‘brothers’ with an array of hand drawn placards as evidence to back up his claims. Or the guy with a saxophone, busking of a evening playing a mournful jazz solo which always reminds me of the band on the Titanic playing wistfully until the last inevitable moments.

Tuesday then, the one just past, a new character standing outside Charing Cross station, nearly five years commuting and I’ve never seen him before in my life. I’d left the office quite a bit later than I normally do. Who knows, if I’d left on time I might not have seen him. But saw him I did. A fairly elderly guy, grey, tight curly hair. He was tall and quite imposing, but standing as he was. Erect, like the Statue of Liberty with his arm aloft, high above his head. Instead of the Liberty torch he held a single piece of laminated paper, with one word upon it, bright, blood red. “Jesus”.

Weirdo I thought! What’s he trying to say? What’s his point? Is he proclaiming to be Jesus or something? If I see him again I thought, I’ll ask him.

Following night, Wednesday. I left work again, not my usual time, but not as late as the night before. Around the corner from my office, walking onto Oxford Street, about to take my short cut through Soho, when in my peripheral vision, in amongst the throng of people walking in the opposite direction was a fairly elderly guy, grey, tight curly hair. Just like the night before he had again, his arm erect, he had the same sign in his hand, inscribed with the same blood red word. “Jesus”.

Thought to myself, there’s that guy again! In the whole of London, I just happen to see the same man at two different locations, on two different days at two different times - weird! Again I wondered what is his point? If I see him again, I thought once more, I’ll ask him.

Coincidental surely? Or something more?

That same night, Wednesday, I had gotten a later train than I would usually get on account of leaving the office later than normal. I sat, reading for a while as I usually do, although for once, I couldn’t read for long, too tired I’m thinking, so I have a nap instead. Wake up, approaching Dartford “Sorry ladies and gentlemen, due to a delay in service, this train will terminate here”. Whatever. I hate South Eastern trains, with a passion. They are useless, beyond useless.

I disembark, sleepy, angry and forced to wait around like the other sheep who are at the mercy of a company who aren’t fit for purpose.

Seven minutes standing in the freezing cold, waiting for the next service to Gravesend. Train finally arrives, so I embark, find a chair, sit down, well, slump, with the hump and get my phone out, vent my spleen at South Eastern through a tweet. Go onto Facebook, what are people up to? Having tea, in comfort, watching football, well Arsenal, if you want to call it that. Look out at the wind and the dark, it’s raining again, can’t see much except for the miserable weather and it’s reflection of how I’m feeling.

I realise I’m sitting on a newspaper, lets have a look at the news shall we?, I thought, understanding that there are far more significant things going on in the world other than my disrupted commute. I pick up the newspaper, it’s open already, folded over onto pages 14 and 15, I take one glance, someone has grafittied on the page. ‘No change there’ I thought, normally you will find newspapers with intelligent one liners like; “your mum’s a whore” or “for sex call” and someones number will be listed. Or in the case of photographs you’ll see Posh Spice adorned with a little goatie beard, or her husband with a male appendage hanging from his forehead. This message slightly different, read:

Spiritual Graffiti

“Please accept ‘Jesus’ problem solved”

All that I mention above flashed back before my eyes, the honesty of testimony, someone sitting on the street, on or in the verge of their darkest hours but seeking the answers in a theological book of some substance. An apparition of a man with a sign in his hand that said “Jesus” who appeared randomly twice in two days and now this, it really was the last straw! I would be wrong in saying I didn’t have a tear in my eye, but giving a wry smile, thought to myself, well, I did ask for proof!

Turning the page over, page 14 another message from the subliminal spiritualist:

Spiritual Graffiti

“Jesus loves you, Please read Bible, ‘Revelations’”

I looked through every single last page of the newspaper, no other graffiti was found. The person who wrote these messages intended for someone to read them, of course they did. But the random way in which it came to be in my possession left me looking upwards and feeling rather humble!

Is someone then, really trying to tell me something, or is it all a collection of chance and circumstance? Family members reading this that will be suggesting something spiritual, I know that. And, whilst I know what I should probably be doing by way of a response, the sceptic in me is still saying “show me one more sign”.

What do you think? What are a series of circumstances celebrating the same subject over a period of time called, and am I right in applying them to a divine source?

6 comments:

muchphotos said...

It is likely that those people and things were always there, but your recent discussions with family and friends have got your antenna twitching. There are those who are afraid that you might lose your sanity and start to walk in the direction of God. I'm not really sure why they are so afraid of an individual choosing their own path, but they are. You probably shouldn't pay them any more mind than you do me ;)

Adam Bird said...

@muchphotos - thank you for your comment! It's like anything isn't it? You buy a new car, a Vauxhall perhaps, thinking that nobody drives one and when you get it, you see hundreds more!

Anonymous said...

you are defintly being called... God is calling you in lots of different ways. and thye say dont miss the boat incase you thini something better will come.. you might miss your call.x love always.

Adam Bird said...

@Anonymous - thank you for your comment! I wouldn't say that I was waiting for my boat to come in, it goes a lot deeper than that. Lot's of Christian people have said a similar thing - they cannot all be wrong!

Meredith said...

I had a similar encounter last Ash Wednesday. I think that when we do feel that God seems to have forgotten us, that's when He shows us how much He really cares, in His own mysterious way. Or in your case, maybe He wants to let you know that He's there for you. :) Good luck, Adam!

Adam Bird said...

Thank you for popping by Meredith! I have been told by many that there is a path set out for me! Just need a little guidance finding it! Thank you once again ;-)

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