he film Forrest Gump has many infamous scenes. Many of those scenes center around the titular character, Forrest, running. At one point Forrest becomes depressed and to cure himself of this he runs all over the country. He develops a cult following, folks begin running with Forrest believing that he has some higher reason for his cardio.
He doesn’t, but Pastor James Brigman does. He is walking from North Carolina to Washington D.C as away to capture the attention of lawmakers who could decide if his 9-year-old daughter lives or dies.
Lauren Faith Brigman has a rare condition that has confined her to a wheelchair, taken her power of speech, and made feeding tubes her only mode of receiving nutrition. With potential cuts coming to Medicaid, the program that helps the family pay for Lauren’s in home care could soon be gone.
So, James decided to start walking. He is passing through Virginia this week as his trip to the capital is coming to a close. The message about James’s journey has gotten around; at many places folks have lined the streets to cheer him on.
This story really struck me. When it first came to my attention I began doing my research. I was trying to find out what James’s master plan was, what was he going to do when he got to D.C?
I couldn’t find anything. The description on the Facebook group created for James’s walk says simply this: “This page is created for letting lawmakers hear the voices of the most vulnerable human beings in our nation who cannot speak for themselves. This is a walk from Rockingham NC to Washington DC to make these voices heard…James walks for Lauren Faith, because she cannot walk. He stands for her because she cannot stand; He speaks for her because she cannot speak. He lifts her up because she lifted him! In her name, he speaks for all nationwide!”
James’s act seems so simple, he has no grand plan to raise a million dollars when he gets to D.C. Nor does he plan on descending upon lawmaker’s offices when he arrives and demanding justice. He is just taking a walk, a long walk.
I think it is safe to say that many people in our country currently feel powerless. We protest, we sign petitions; we discuss endlessly every new development. It all can begin to feel like shouting into the void.
Then you read a story like this, This father has no way to know If what he does will truly make a difference in his child’s life. He can’t promise the people who line the streets to see him anything. All he can do is try for his daughter.
When we are young we are all told that we can make a difference in this world. For most of us the older we become the less we believe that’s true. The world wears us out and we become jaded. I don’t know if James’s walk will yield the results that so many are looking for, but I know that he is giving people hope.