I double-checked the sign on the doors nearest me and looked around at the buttons and stickers of the people I was wedging my way through and breathed deeply, relieved to be in the right place. This was confirmed by the impassioned calls from my fellows, "They have defined the issues for too long. It is time for our voices to be heard!" "If people of faith don't come together and work to put him in the White House, they will set the agenda for the next four years, and then it might be too late!" Yes, now is the time, really the time. I nodded my head even more vigorously than before, almost jumped up and down to make up for my earlier perjury. I was about to complete my previously interrupted fist pump when my phone vibrated. I looked at it--a text from an unknown number. I read it.
What? I text back: What?
The reply came back immediately:
I try to clear some room around me with my elbows; my awareness of the crowd diminished to bodies bumping and jostling while I try to get my thumbs to type full sentences on the phone.
Who is this? What are talking about? Are you talking about this? Do you know where I am? I hit send.
I am vaguely aware of a swell in the crowd noise, and then it recedes. The jostling and bumping increase, people moving past me, but I don't lift my head. I am focused only on this phone, trying to see through it to the prophet on the other end.
I am here to live out my values, right? This does matter. It can make a difference. I type and hit send with purpose, thinking it will emphasize my point.
Is this the text of Isaiah or the texter of Isaiah watching me? My thumbs work resolutely. Are you some sort of stalker? Some radical separatist stalker prophet? Send.
I pause. I am thinking. He doesn't wait for my response.
I look up. I look around and see that I am standing alone in front of Charles Colson Jr. High.
Russell Rathbun is a storyteller and a member of theGuild, along with Melvin Bray (language artist), Lisa Samson (novelist), Yaisha Harding (writer), Ercell Watson (comedian), Eugene Russell (singer-songwriter-rapper-actor), Daley Hake (photographer), Ed Sohn (multimedia artist), Prisca Kim (writer), and Claudia Burney (novelist), and Daniel Ra (singer-songwriter). Learn more on theGuild's Facebook page.
For more extended versions of the texts, see Undergoing God, by James Alison