The Odd One

There was once a man in a small town. He must be in his 70’s. His long, grey hair was unkempt. His beard was long and bushy. His eyebrows were long. His skin got brown perhaps by the heat of the sun; he walked and walked. His shoes were worn out. His face had the shadow of some good looks in his youth; but time somehow cheated on him. He carried a soiled slingbag the pockets of which were bursting with things of sorts; food maybe. He was someone who anyone could say, “He must be out of his mind.”

But no one knew his name. No one bothered to know who he was.

He greeted everyone with a smile as he walked with dignity. But everyone stayed away from him because they were afraid of him. He seemed not to be bothered with his looks, though. He seemed not to care of the eyes that stared at him. He just walked and walked the whole day. No one saw him eat or drink. But he must have eaten in secret. No one saw him read anything; but he must have read in secret because he knew a lot of things. No one saw him pray; but he must have done this in secret, too.

He walked and walked. He would only stop when he saw a group of people. To them, he would start preaching about the Kingdom of God. He quoted Bible verses and he explained the message of God. Some people who were not in a hurry would listen for a while out of curiosity. Some stopped to confirm that he was weird and insane. Some stopped to snear or even to mock him.

But he just continued preaching. He quoted Bible verses quite well. In all these things, the old man just smiled. He seemed unaffected by the reactions of people around him.

Someone said, “What if he is indeed a prophet?” Another said, “Come on, he is just one of those weird guys!” Still another said, “He could be on drugs.”

One morning, news about the old man circulated around. The night before that hot day, the old man was beaten by unknown people. He was found wounded, stabbed several times, bruised, and murdered.

At his death, peole became more curious about his family background. No one knew where he came from. He just became a regular fixture in the public places of this small town.

His looks deceived the people. His behavior that was out of the norms led people to believe that he was not to be taken seriously. But those who listened out of curiosity discovered something.

That old man spoke the truth about God.

And those who were curious tried to recall all that he said which could be summed up into this: “Love because God is love.”

People took care of the old man’s burial. Many came to his wake.

The old man may not have seen the fruits of his hard labour, but someone does.