It's January 2016, and business had been slow for me driving and delivering cars. I had a Mercedes Benz to drive up to Philadelphia, and just as I crossed the state line from North Carolina into Virginia it broke down. I had no idea why. For someone who drives so many cars, it's amazing how little I know about how they run. It was coughing and sputtering before it quit completely so I was able to get off at a rural exit and rolled to a stop on the shoulder just off the top of the ramp.
I got out and shivered in the cold as I popped the hood and looked under it. I don't know what I was looking for, I had no idea what was wrong or how to fix it. I only know I was very fatigued after having driven from Miami, and it was getting dark. Luckily a street light illuminated the area where I parked. I got back into the car and started thinking about all of the adventures I've had driving, but also about how my boss Riff often screwed me over and still owed me over $500 in back pay.
Just as I felt I was about to nod off, I felt a sense of warmth come over me. I heard a light knocking on my car window, and was startled to see a familiar face looking in at me.
"Hello?" He said.
I knew the face, but could not remember ever meeting this guy. I rolled down the window. "Hi."
"Need some help?"
I climbed out of the car. "Do you know anything about cars?"
"Little bit. I know a little bit about everything." He had long brown hair and a beard. And there was a kindness in His face.
"You look so familiar to me."
"Well I hope so."
"Have we met?"
"Not in person, no. But I watch you all the time, Bill."
I was stumped. I did not know this guy. "How did you know I'm Bill?"
"I know everything about you, you driving fool. Now who do I remind you of?"
I had to stop and think. I thought I knew the answer, but it didn't make sense. "You actually remind me of pictures of Jesus they used to show us in church when I was growing up."
He winked at me. "Bingo."
"What? Wait, are you saying you're..." I trailed off.
"Yes, it's me, and it is a real pleasure to meet you."
I felt numb as I said "Well the pleasure is all mine. Is this the second coming I read about in the Bible?"
"No, no, the rapture isn't upon you quite yet. I just like to drop in on people from time to time and see how they are doing."
" I would think you would save that honor for Presidents or Popes. Those who are very special."
"You are very special to me, Bill."
"I am? I can't believe You look just like the pictures I saw of You."
"That's how I am appearing to you because that is what you recognize. Actually when I lived here on Earth I looked nothing like this. My skin was darker, I had more of a Mediterranean look. All the movies they've made about me, they never got me right."
"Far from it. Jeffrey Hunter did an okay job in KING OF KINGS, but blue eyes? Come on."
"You saw that movie?"
"If they made a movie about you, wouldn't you watch it?"
"Guess so," I agreed.
"In Ben Hur the actor who played me was never fully seen, but that chariot race was great."
I smiled. "It sure was."
"Now JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and GODSPELL had some good music in them. Frankly, I didn't care for Willem Dafoe's portrayl in THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. Scorsese is a great director, but that definitely wasn't one of his best. Just my opinion."
He walked around to the still open hood and looked at the engine. He began pulling at wires and checking plugs, all foreign to me. "Jim Caviezel really nailed it in THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, but that was a hard one to watch. So violent, so real, way too graphic for me."
"It was certainly hard to watch it without wriggling in my seat."
"Now in THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD, Max von Sydow was just too stoic and regal for my taste. Although I did love him in the new STAR WARS movie."
"You like STAR WARS?"
"Who doesn't like STAR WARS? I wish he had been in it longer, but that devil Kylo Ren did him in all too quickly."
"This is so weird, You talking about movie references. I love movies."
He smiled and nodded at me. "I know you do."
"You know what I like? Me, just plain old Bill Thomas?"
"I know everything about you. And I love you very much. You don't realize how special you are to me."
"Absolutely you are. I watch you every single day, and love the fact that you try to spread a little happiness wherever you go. You reach out to help people, even though a lot of them take advantage of you. But you remain determined and keep right on believing that there is good in everyone."
"It feels like the right thing to do."
He elbowed me lightly in the ribs. "It is the right thing. With all the ugliness and hatred in the world, if more people like you would try to spread a little kindness around it would be a much nicer place to live."
"You mean America?"
"Think big, Bill. I mean the world. And by the way, my Father is very fond of you also."
"You mean God?"
"Who else would I mean? I can tell you that He gave you a good heart and a special talent for touching people and bringing them joy. Both of us watch you sometimes and wonder why you are still driving when you have so much to offer."
"Hey, I'd love to make my living on my writing and making movies, but it hasn't happened for me yet."
"And you know the reason why."
"What? No I don't."
"Yes you do. Bill, my Father gave you wonderful gifts He wants you to share with the world. Get back into the car please."
"Into the car? Okay, sure."
"And I died to save you. So do something with your life and your gifts." As he slammed the hood shut he said loudly "Wake up!"
The car started suddenly and I sat upright very fast. Wow, what a dream! It seemed so very real, and yet of course it was all in my mind. I wasn't sure how the car got started, but I wasn't going to complain, I was going to drive to Richmond and get a good night's sleep.
As I started to put the car in Drive, I heard a repetitive beep coming from the center console. Sounded like a former employee had left their beeper or cell phone in the car. I looked inside, and there was a cell phone. And underneath it was a Bible. I didn't remember seeing either one of them there before. How strange... but how wonderful.