It sounded like a good story. Having heard it from a second party I decided to give my dad a call and hear it for myself.
I heard about Matt...
He was hitchhiking in McCammon Idaho, headed to Colorado Springs. He had come from Missoula Montana, chopping wood for a guy; work had ran out. He wasn't a beggar, simply on the move--or rather, on the run.
The last nine of his 29 years had been spent traveling the country. His coast-to-coast tally was 6 or 7 times, having been to every major city and everywhere else in-between.
Haven't been to Alaska or Hawaii. You have to go up through Canada to get to Alaska. Canadians don't care for hitchhikers, he said.
He hiked the 30 mile stretch of Red Woods in three days; surviving
off of pastrami, oatmeal, and raisins. With a small hand tool, he
learned to harvest Brussels Sprouts in Georgia. The stories continued,
filled with the experiences and people--those that would give time to a decent conversation.
strong passion for people, the chip on his shoulder was evident.
Standing in one spot for three days while watching people pass by was
hard; feeling their assumptions made from a thumb in the air.
It all started when he came home to find his fiance with another man. Anything that was logical or of sense went up in flames, fleeing to the streets--running.
Dad asked most the questions, Matt did most the talking. Ultimately the
synopsis of Matt's story was told. The two sat and one last question was asked.
After all this time, being around the country, meeting people--what is it all about?
Confused by the question he asked for clarification.
What is the purpose and meaning for any of what you have experienced?
It's about being happy. Finding that one thing and going out to get it, he answered.
Do you think anyone ever finds that true, pure happiness? asked my dad.
He did, and gave his reasoning.
Watching the road they let the recent conversation settle for consideration.
What do you think it is all about? Matt asked, breaking the silence.
It's all about our connection with God; our relationship to the Creator. It's not that I think all that other stuff--happiness, being good--is bad, it's just that I have found without the connection to God, nothing will ever make sense. I had and pursued everything that brought "happiness" and it only left me looking for the next fix--like chasing after the wind. When you spoke about the loss, anger, and confusion of when you first ran, I too have been in that place--6 years ago I was packing up my truck to run.
What happened to you? asked Matt.
I had a huge conversion to Jesus Christ.
Closing in on their destination the phone rang.
Matt and I are headed to Walmart, I will pick some up there, answered my dad.
Arriving at the store, Matt picked up a candy bar, salad, and a gallon of ice tea with the food stamps he had. Dad got the chocolate chips needed for the cookie dough sitting at home.
Having been on the road for nine days a shower and bed were the least that could be offered. Taking Matt to the hotel down the street, they exchanged a key to a room for a handshake of gratitude.
Turning to leave my dad said one last thing.
Matt, if you don't find what you are looking for, remember you can always look up. God bless.
Bless you too, said Matt.
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.