With these few extra minutes I have come to be greeted by a sweet older gentleman who frequents this coffee shop every morning. We chat a few minutes. Make a little small talk. Share a brief story of our week or a quick antidote. I know of his wife who is at home on oxygen and his former career and of his appointments. He has seen pictures of my son.
Today I felt compelled to sit a minute longer. Perhaps creating a rush for myself later when it came to getting to the office. (We don't allow our clients to be one minute late. Therefore I must be held to the same standard). And in pulling up a chair he opened up and told me a story. One I had never expected in depth or content. He had me in tears
He told the story like it was last year or a few years ago. It must have still felt that raw to him. It would for me. For he is in his 70s and spoke of his daughter when she was 22.
He told me of how she was abducted and murdered. After going to her car to retrieve a gift for a friend. Her body found a week later. How his heart gave out on him shortly after. He was in the hospital when the trial was happening after they found the guy who did it. It literally broke his heart.
He described what got him through it. His wife. His faith. His love for others despite tragedy.
Can you even imagine. Without your stomach turning to mush?
As I wiped my eyes he apologized and said that he didn't mean to make me cry. I told him not to apologize but that his story was sad. I was sad for him. For his loss. That no man should have to suffer that. That I admired his strength;his faith. His courage to open up.
He said that he felt better telling it. That though it hurts, somehow it helps him to share his story.
Sadly I did have to leave. After making sure we had an upswing in conversation I excused myself with a hug and a promise to pray for his wife's health and his pain. He insisted on paying for my next coffee.
All of this in the course of 10-15 minutes.
It does not take long to connect to another human. To listen. To share a story. To give a little grace.
My heart opened up to a little more gratitude for what and who I have. I ached to have his bravery, and maybe next time I have a need, I will share my struggles. My story. The human connection to just be there in the moment was refreshing.
I wish I would slow down. Look around to find the hearts in my community who need an ear and who will enrich my soul. I counsel for a living. (And no story from work has touched me the way this one has in a long time)But what if we counseled each other a little. Opened up to our insecurities and hardships. Pulled up a chair. Listened. If only for a minute.