Emily Belle Freeman



A certain man

photo Twenty seven backpacks.

Twenty seven fresh haircuts.  Twenty seven lunchboxes bouncing against nervous legs.  Twenty seven new pairs of shoes.  Waiting. Wondering.  Such a big world for such little shoes.

The late summer air has a little more of a chill than usual.

Perhaps it isn't the air.

Such a big world for big shoes too.


On another day, much earlier than this one, Jesus and his disciples came down together from a holy mountain.

When they reached they bottom, they discovered a multitude there.

How many I wonder.

Fifty?  Two hundred?

"And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man,


and saying, "Lord have mercy on my son..." (Matthew 17:14-15)

Out of the crowd, a certain man stepped forward that day.

Not just any man.

A certain man.

With a name.  And a son.

And he needed mercy.

And he knelt at Mercy's feet.

Feet that would walk where he walked.

Trodding the winepress.  Alone.

To bring grace to the multitudes.

And to this man.


I think I might have seen him before.

I think I saw him yesterday at the gas station.  Just a pump over from me.

There were ten, maybe twelve pumps all going that morning.

A multitude.

But there was a certain man driving a white pickup next to me.

A man with a name.


And I think I saw him again on the second page of the news.

A man who needed mercy.

Right under the story about the new airport.

It will be nice when that is finished.

It won't be so crowded.

…Won't have to wait in line with all those people.


The bus pulls to the curb.

Twenty seven backpacks start lining up.

There is one with green straps.

His hair is a little matted because he woke up late.

…too excited to sleep the night before.

That is how he always is.

He couldn't sleep last week either--waiting for his birthday.

He really wanted pet chickens.

The line moves up the steps.

He is 11th in line.

I wait and watch closely.

I move angles to catch him wave to me through the windows.

I would recognize those little hands anywhere.

It is because he is mine.

I know his hands.  And I know his fears.

I know his worries and his loves and his ticklish spots.

I know what he wants to be when he grows up.

I know his weaknesses and I adore his strengths.

I know what he needs and I am ready and willing to give it.

I have lifted his chin and I have wiped away his tears.

I have chased away his monsters and I would do it again.

Because he is mine.


And I could pick him out of a crowd anywhere.

Emily Freeman