Jordan walked in the church where I worked at the time, two days after Donald Trump was elected president. Welcoming him back to Foundry UMC seemed to ease my inner emotional volcano which kept spitting out heat & denial. We swapped hellos; then reality of the election came up.
In a kind, calming voice Jordan said:
His perspective delivered more than timely insight; but it took me a second to realize what it was.
As we talked more, it dawned on me I was sharing this conversation with a person who inspired trust. For over a year Jordan would visit the church to access our comminity clothing closet. We would talk pretty regularly but more on a surface level. This deeper exchange now was comforting, and harmonized well with my cravings for solace. It was the substance of friendship.
Then a few weeks went by, bringing on a piercing November chill. My husband and I were running to dinner at a local cafe. As we opened the cafe’s front door, a familiar voice said: “Hey Jill, how are you?”
It was Jordan rising up from his bedroll on the sidewalk. We hugged and talked. He and my husband shook hands introducing eachother. We offered respective ‘good nights’ as Jordan lay down to rest with traffic whipping by on Connecticut Avenue.
Our conversation immediately came back to mind from a few weeks prior. Memories of comfort from that post-election talk now stood in stark opposition to the very different levels of comfort existing in our respective lives. The moment evoked a ton of humility for how God blesses us with friendship — the unforeseen and sometimes discordant layers of which reveal a road map for how friends can learn from and care for eachother.
It was a strange day today at church where I work. Many intense events all happened at once. First a man with questionable sanity entered the chapel & began to scream. He was unresponsive so I called the police. While he continued to scream, another gentleman came in from the street asking for a belt from the church’s community clothing closet. This man looked unwell and thin, I’d say 100 lbs tops, and his pants were being held up by his hands.
The screaming guest meanwhile kept up his volume and the police had yet to arrive. Then other people entered the church asking for directions to the White House and another woman sought some food. My nerves were fluttering up a storm; a pastor came out to help ease the crowd.
Then the police arrived right as the precious frail man needing a belt got tears in his eyes because I couldn’t find a damn belt to fit him. My frustration was at a fever pitch, let alone my feelings of inadequacy to help this guy.
All of a sudden the screaming man, now surrounded by police officers, calmed down and walked over to us with what looked like vivid sense of purpose. He took off his belt and handed it to the other man in need. The belt fit well and I thanked God for bringing such sanity and kindness to the chaotic moment.
My brain is still swirling from everything. It was a humbling moment to see up close how hope & resourcefulness can extend from one stranger to another.
Even though the screaming man seemed to slip in and out of lucidity, in that moment something clicked, some inside awareness in himself which recognized the basic human need in a stranger.