Thursday, May 13, 2010

This is my town na na naa naa na

Tonight I holed up in the Dunkin Donuts next to my church, trying to get some schoolwork done while waiting for my children's ministry bus route.

An old guy blew in and ordered a coffee w/ cream and two sugars (I think it was - I am not a good storyteller because I am a little obsessive compulsive about honesty and details) Whatever it was he ordered, he was very commanding as he called his order over to the worker who was at the drive-thru window. Then before I knew what was happening he was over at my table getting me to key in a pin number for his track phone. He had been having trouble because usually his kids did it for him. He has eight kids, living as far away as Seattle and as close as North Jersey.

Joe, as I found his name out later, had a youngest son who was trying to move back in with him. Joe wouldn't let him because he had already overused Joe's credit card.

Joe showed me a picture of a ten-year old granddaughter. This granddaughter has brain damage from shaken baby syndrome, and Joe will never know if it was from his own daughter or from a foster family. Joe got to take care of the granddaughter for a period of time, and he still remembers sleeping with her on his chest. She woke up at the same time every night and laughed, and now he knows it was because his chest hairs were tickling her. He said he really missed her. She is with her real father right now, and Joe trusts him.

Joe referred several times to starting a business. Something about he was bored so he started another business. He is moving to Egg Harbor from Atlantic City because Egg Harbor is quieter. I told him I was born and raised here, and I went to church "over there." Joe is going to visit church on Sunday.

I sat there listening, and I loved listening. This guy was from a totally different world than I. I'm not saying that there's anything exotic about a rambling old guy from Pacific Avenue; but you still have to admit his world was different. Whereas my friends and associates work with foster agencies; this man's daughter went to the hospital to deliver, completely intoxicated. I'm young, he's old; I live in the country and he lives in the city. So I like the exposure. We are different yet we both are created in God's image, and we both have eternity to deal with. I was listening, wondering if we could get a chance to talk about eternity, but all of a sudden he was thanking me for listening and going to finish his laundry. And he was gone quickly, but not before he promised again to show up at church.

I wish I could meet someone new every day.

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