It was about 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
My girlfriend and I had just been hanging out on the beach for about an hour before it started to rain. We ran back to my car, but the sky cleared right away.
That is Florida for you in a nutshell.
So, we decided to go on a walk.
The Florida island that we were on has a really well-known street. It is lined with bars, restaurants, mini golf, you name it. We even walked passed what seemed to be a pirate convention. Interesting to say the least. We walked all the way down the street and then all at once we were blown away.
In the sky there was a GIANT rainbow.
Never before in my life have I seen a rainbow end to end.
I could clearly see one end of the rainbow landing in the water and the other end landing just off into the distance.
I was speechless.
We were speechless.
Up ahead of me I saw a man approaching.
He looked like he had been lost at sea for years. He was about 45 years old. No shoes. Feet with bleeding wounds. Ripped up wet t-shirt. Hands and nails covered in muck. His hair tied up in a sandy man bun under a cowboy hat. His beard touched his chest. His hair, a mix of light brown,white, and grey.
He smiled at my girlfriend and I and said a few kind words.
And just like that he was gone.
Something about him made me want to talk more.
A while later I saw him again, as we were making our way back up the street.
After coming up to us and making small talk he asked me a question,
“You are a man of God, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“I knew that…God told me so.”
My first instinct in the past would be to judge this man. To look at him and think what is he smoking? God told you so? Are you sure about that? But for some reason this time I fought that instinct. I did not let his appearance or apparent bag of alcohol and cigarettes stop me from listening and asking questions.
I started asking him about his faith and his life.
Let us call him Josh.
Josh told me that he sleeps on the beach. He never leaves the island. His father lives on the island but he chooses to sleep out near the water. He told me that God has given him this earth as his home. He told me how people view him as indigent but that is not the case. He told me that he is a believer but he drinks and smokes a lot. He said that everyday he has his four beers and 20 cigarettes. He calls his beers his “Spirit water.” He told me that his Church is when he gets together with two or three friends.
He told me that on the beach…
“God drinks his wine, while I drink my beers….and we laugh together.”
“You always remember, God has a great sense of humor.”
Josh then started asking me all about my life. He asked me what my goals were and what I wanted to be. The whole time he talked with me he touched my shoulder. He grasped my hands. I could feel how invested he was in the conversation. Once again, I fought my instinct. This man was covered in dirt and who knows what. Yet, that did not matter to me in the moment. There was a form of comfort as he patted my shoulders and shook my hand.
I told Josh that I was going to medical school and that I wanted to be a physician to help others.
This is where it got interesting.
Josh didn’t ask me where I go. Josh didn’t ask me how it was going. Josh didn’t ask me about my grades.
Josh asked me if I really meant it.
“So are you going to go all the way or like just for a few years and then not do it.”
The first thing Josh wanted to know was if I was committed.
I immediately responded,
“I am going to finish. I want to be a doctor. I want to help others.”
We said our goodbyes and while driving home it all started to click.
The past two months of medical school have been the most difficult months of my life. There would be nights I felt helpless, uncertain if this was right for me. There have been tears. There has been fear. There has been regret. Moments, where I questioned God’s will for me. This week was the hardest yet. With so many tests and the anxiety building up like Tetris bricks….I did not know how I was going to do it.
But I made it.
And on September 23rd, 2017 at 4 o’clock God sent me a rainbow in the sky. To remind me that the worst is over and the best is yet to come. God sent me an angel with a sandy man bun. To ask me if I was ready to keep fighting in the journey. To ask me if I was committed. To remind me that God has a sense of humor and it is time I start laughing again.