Still not convinced yesterday’s post was evidence of a miracle? Well, fast forward to sometime later that summer for the continuation…
On a Tuesday night, a couple-to-few months after Ryan’s incident, Jacob was at a youth party at one of Creekside’s members’ house. It was my turn to pick him up after the party, so I drove to the house. Now, I always (and I mean always) wait outside for Jacob to come out whenever he’s ready, because I don’t want to intrude on a young teenager’s time, but on this particular night something prompted me to get out of the car and go in. Note to self: I can never say “always wait outside” anymore. As I approached the house, I noticed the back gate was open, so I proceeded through the gate and stood in the opening looking for Jacob in order to make eye contact letting him know I was there. I spotted him on the other side of the backyard, and when he saw me, he nodded his head acknowledging I was there, and went back to doing whatever he was doing. At that moment, I was approached by a shout of, “Hey Bret! I can’t believe you’re here! Have I got a story to tell you! Do you have time to listen?” I replied, “Yes.”, and Doug McBride proceeded to tell me about our mutual friend Doug Abbott’s recent encounter the Saturday before. Yes, two Dougs…try and keep up…
Background: Doug Abbott lives in Alamo and works as a fireman 20+ miles away in Oakland. Doug is also an avid bike rider.
Story (again, paraphrased to the best of my recollection). And, rather than try to figure out where they all go, I’ll leave out most of the quotation marks. Anyway, here goes:
Doug M. begins telling me the story about Doug A: “You know our friend Doug Abbott, right? Well, he just told me about what happened to him this past Saturday. At 4:30 A.M., God told him to get up and ride his bike to work, to which he replied, You’re crazy God. It’s 4:30 in the morning and too far to ride my bike to work. So, thanks for asking, but no. I’m not asking you Doug. Get up. No. Get up Doug! No. Get up Doug! No. Half an hour later, Doug decided God wasn’t going to give up, so he got up and got ready to ride. (EVER WRESTLE WITH GOD?)
So, Doug got on his bike and began riding to work at 5 or so in the morning. Now, it was still dark out at that retched time, and not a lot goes on then either…except on this particular morning. Somewhere along the empty trail to work, another biker rode up alongside Doug and asked where he was going and if he minded a riding partner…to which Doug probably replied something to the effect (and I’m making this up), Sure, as long as your not some sort of cereal killer. A bit spooky, huh? Great! My name is Jim. Mine’s Doug.
The two began talking, and sometime during the ride, Jim looked over and asked Doug if that was a “Love For Ryan” bracelet he was wearing? (Remember those green and white rubber bracelets we made for Ryan that had the inscription “Love For Ryan” on one side, and “Only Hope” on the other?).
Doug said, Why, y-y-yes it is. H-h-how d-d-did y-y-you know that?
Well, said Jim, my son is Ryan Buchanan’s best friend from kindergarten.
What’s your son’s name?
David Boucher. (WHOA!!) How is it that you have a “Love For Ryan” bracelet on?
Doug: Well, I attend Creekside Community Church in Alamo, the same church Ryan goes to, and I have been wearing it ever since I got it. You know? I met your son David a couple of months back.
Jim continues: My family and I have noticed something different about David these past couple of months; ever since he came home from the prayer vigils (yes multiple: the prayer vigils continued for many days following Ryan’s incident…not just the 1st Sunday night). He’s been spending a lot of time over at the church, and for some reason unbeknownst to us, he’s been a lot happier. You know? My family and I have never been much into church. In fact, I can’t remember the last time we ever went to church. On top of that, I’m not even sure we believe in God, but seeing David the way he’s been, there’s got to be something to it. Would you mind praying for me?
So, Doug and Jim pulled over to the side of the bike trail and prayed at 5-something in the morning…
FOOTNOTE: A few years later, while driving to San Luis Obispo to drop our boys off at college, I heard firsthand from Doug Abbott the story of his encounter with Jim. It gave me the chills then, as it does each and every time hear and tell it…