Tuesday, October 18, 2011


When I first met you, all you did was show me your lottery tickets - over and over. As we sat in the ugly, yellow basement waiting for our lunches of assorted meat and rice or potato or whatever starch that would hold our hunger over until the next meal we had lined up or stumbled upon, you didn't know what to do or say - so you pulled out your lottery tickets. Same number, every day, for years and years. All I would do was play with my food, pushing the corn into the potato, mixing it, searching for words to say. What I did know was how to smile, and I meant it. You smiled right back, and meant it too.

One day, I don't remember when exactly but it was after a few months, we didn't talk about your lottery tickets. You didn't pull them out of your pocket and fidget nervously. I looked you in the eye and invited you over for some snacks and to talk about Jesus. Your mustache adjusted to your smile, your head slightly cocked. We both took a risk - me asking and you accepting. When you showed up, you said you came to hear what we had to say, not for the food. That meant a lot.

We're in this together, I realized, and I want you to realize that, too. Do you know you have the most courageous smile? Your energy is absolutely contagious. Your friendship is loyal. Your encouragement is honest and sincere. Now that I know you, I like you. And we don't talk about the lottery tickets, anymore.

I suppose you still buy them everyday. If you ever win, I'm sure you will tell me. That would be a great day. I'll still want to know how you are, friend. Sometimes you don't look so well, and I wonder if you are OK. If you ever get sick, I hope you tell me that, too. We need to look out for each other.

I just wanted you to know your friendship is valuable to me.

Running into you last night in the rain thrilled me. You had an umbrella and I didn't so I hopped under and we shook hands with big smiles on our faces. Thank you for being someone who knows me when I walk down our streets. It brings joy to my life each time we see each other. Like the kind of joy that leaves a grin sticking to my face for the next hour.

We say we're here to help restore dignity to people that don't get treated with much honor, but let me just say that you have restored dignity to my life. Openly I admit that you teach me how to be a better person. You have taken tragedy and pain in your life and turned it into strength, new life and faith. I wish I exuded the energy that you have. I hope to someday make people feel the way you do when your smile falls upon them.

A friend, and student of your wisdom.


Life with Kaishon said...

Happy birthday to your very special friend.

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