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It sits in the back of the lot covered in dust with weeds growing up around its tires. No longer used, Jake’s trailer has found a resting place where few people will ever take notice. Jake bought the trailer after returning from serving his country in Iraq. With help from his Dad, he started a delivery service hauling goods around south Texas. He secured a small business loan to buy the truck and trailer, which soon became his pride and joy.

I had given Jake some advice about the difference between being self-employed and owning a business, and we began to talk. He said things were going well for him, and he was not sure he was deserving of such success. He was saving money, though, to quickly pay off his loan. Jake’s trailer was providing a solid return on his investment.

I had agreed to let Jake use my lot to store his trailer after his daily trips. To me it was a very small gesture, for the back of the lot was vacant anyway. To Jake, though, it meant more than I realized. One more piece of his business plan puzzle put in place, one less concern. So it was that my wife and I were surprised one night when Jake showed up at the house with a pecan pie baked by his Grandmother (and paid for by Jake) as a token of his appreciation. It amazed me that a man of his generation could be so thankful – I had assumed that most of his peers were self-centered. It made me think of the day he and his Mom had come by in his truck to collect computers to take to Mexico for poor school children.

Jake’s trailer is the spot where I went to pray that morning when I heard about his accident. I prayed that God would not take him yet, but God had other plans. A tragic accident in Colorado was soon to claim the life of this young man. I thought of the irony of his survival in a war zone for a year only to have his life cut short by something so senseless.

Now as I run my hand across the cold steel of the black frame and the splintered wood of the trailer bed, my thoughts return to a dream interrupted by tragedy. I come here often when I’ve had a bad day, never failing to walk away with a changed perspective.

I suppose someday that his family will use or sell the trailer because it its still in mint condition. But no matter how many burdens its carries or how many roads it travels, to those who knew him, it will always be Jake’s trailer.