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Monday, August 13, 2012

Another Hot Day

I remember some long hot summers when I was a teenager working on a Saint Vincent de Paul truck as a swamper in Seattle, long, hot, muscle straining days, picking up clothes and newspapers and sofas and chairs and refrigerators. After two weeks of just wanting to quit I started feeling really good and I started enjoying the work.

Still I could not wait for summer to be over and my getting back to the books. So I really admire the human beings who are digging and chopping and putting in some hard hours out here on Twenty Fifth and South Union.

They are some dedicated folks, doing what is necessary to have food on the table, clothes on the backs, and a safe happy home for themselves, their families, and friends.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Three Welcoming Young People

I had stopped at the US Bank branch in the Tops Store at the  South Mall to put checks in my account. The branch had not opened yet. I decided to use the US Cash Machine. I had failed to add up the total amount on the checks. I had no pen to help me get that total.

I did something I had never done before. There was a young African American woman sitting at one of the tables provided for folks to sit, eat, and read, and talk while shopping at Tops. I asked her if she had a pin, always thinking she might think I was trying to pull some sort of scam. She looked up, smiled, quickly checked her shirt and pants pockets, and, smiling sincerely, told me she did not have a pen.

I was pleased. She had taken time to help me.

Sitting at another table was a young couple, a bearded white male in his twenties, a white female with blonde hair. I spontaneously approached them and asked if either one of them had a pen, all the time thinking they would just ignore this burly, grey haired, older black man. They didn't. Neither had a pen, but the young man quickly asked the young woman to use her calculator to help me.

SHE DID THAT.  No frowns, no hesitation, she just cheerfully and quickly responded to my request.

I left Tops this bright Friday morning, realizing that the world I assumed existed, with these three wonderful young people, did not exist at all. I learned a lot. I am very grateful to them.

A Most Important Lesson

I am learning a lot about love serving as a chaplain at St. Joseph's Hospital.  Women and men, young and old, choose to constantly support their loved ones. The other day I had the privilege of taking two African American women up to their pastor's room. He was recovering from a very serious illness.
   Their conversation was loving and honest. He candidly talked about how he had failed to take care of himself and how his wife, children, and other members of the church went out of their way to tell him that they were concerned about how he looked and how he was behaving. Finally he decided to see his doctor who immediately got him to go to the hospital for necessary service.
    I cannot remember any time in my life as a minister when I had participated in such an honest interchange with human beings I served.
     I left his room determined to be a more open and caring human being. I am so glad to have had an opportunity to be with three human beings who loved God, themselves, and each other so very much.