His Final Mission

The old man – many call him a homeless bum – lay in his sleeping bag under the pine tree out of sight of the families that usually habitated the park in the early afternoon. Much of the old Marines’ life was spent wandering the streets during the night.

It had been this way for him since Khe Sanh, 1968. If possible, the old man avoided all human contact because it brought nothing but trouble to his life.

As a young man, he was certain he had been destined for far greater things than living off the scraps of society. But drugs and alcohol and several stints in one jail cell or another had convinced him that he’d missed his greater purpose.

This afternoon seemed different with it’s lack of screaming children and the echo of adults talking amongst themselves. Instead, the air was filled with a sound that seem both joy-filled and bitter sweet and it finally brought him out his sleep.

“What in the world?” he spoke aloud as he looked to his right and saw the gray, moss-covered stone singing in a language he did not understand.

The stone to his left answered his question: “The One who was, who is and who always will be has returned.”

Frightened, the old man jerked his knees up to his chest and stared at the talking rock. He tried to speak but his fear had caught his voice and refused to let it go.

The stone repeated its exclamation, “The One who was, who is and who always will be has returned.”

Slowly it dawned on the old man what the stone meant. He slipped from his sleeping bag and crawled from under the tree.

All around him stones, rocks, pebbles and even grains of sand sang praised towards Heaven. Then it occurred to him that he had been left.

“No,” he cried skyward, “I didn’t make it!”

The stone, who he had learned the good news from, was listening. Before returning to its worshipping, it reassured the old man that he had not been left, telling him, “You are the witness to those who have not seen, the Saints who have gone before.”

And in a twinkling, the old man was taken up having saw the fulfillment of the scripture which reads: “…the very stones would cry out.”


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