Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Friend?

So, I went out to make a friend last night. A girl friend. I'd been praying all day to God that He would bring me a female friend. I started off walking to a notorious Mc Donald's here in Chicago that has a lot of people hanging around it - a variety of traffic from Michigan Ave to homeless to street people to middle class to kids to elderly. It is always busy, always patrolled.

I walked in, bought my ice cream cone and scanned the place for a woman sitting by herself - I came across one who was cussing out a security guard. I decided she was my friend. With my cone in hand, I asked her if I could sit down. She smiled and say "Course you can Baby!" She let me know what she was reading and how good it was, and I was ready to strike up a conversation about literature. Just then, a man, a friend or comrade at least, ushered her away from our table over to his. It was an interesting dynamic, I still am not fully sure what happened. Perhaps they thought I wanted to sit alone, even though there were plenty of open tables. Maybe he knew she was merely being polite, and didn't actually want to sit by me. Either way, my new friend had walked away from me. I licked my ice cream and thought about the situation I had put myself in. Now, I was vulnerable and alone. Round two...

I walked down Michigan and sat next to an elderly woman who was just crouching over a trash can. She didn't have many teeth and was hard to understand. I tried to talk to her, her name was Anna. Gathering that she had lived in Chicago and New York, I attempted conversation about the city, about where we had both lived and why. After a few minutes of polite answers of my questions, she too, walked away from me. The irony was making me laugh, I actually audibly laughed out loud to myself as I headed toward home.

God, I said, I want this to be for you and for your people. I don't want to do this for my own gain. I don't want to be the cool person who can talk about their homeless friends - or the self sacrificial person who is much better than everyone else because I try. I'm not. I pass up far more opportunities than I take. But God, I prayed and asked you for a friend, doesn't that mean you're going to bring me someone? No, He said. It doesn't. It does mean you'll learn something.

Only a few blocks from my home, a woman is sitting outside a church on the stone wall. Her name was Regis. She smiled and responded to my hello, so I sat down. She didn't mind. We talked for a while, about her independence and what she likes to do for fun. We walked to a store nearby and got Diet Coke's. And Mayonnaise (For tuna salad). We walked back together and sat back down. I told her I'd see her again. She said she sits there everyday. Regis, I think, will be my friend. At least someone I can make eye contact with and say "hi" and we know each other. Not very much, not well enough, but we had a moment together. We walked somewhere together and shared in something. I am quite sure it meant more to me than it meant to her. Maybe it meant something to her, maybe it didn't. God was with us, I know that.

More thoughts on this later, just wanted to get the story out.


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