Thursday, December 07, 2017

His tear broke my heart

I try really hard to avoid stepping into any ongoing, in-progress, encounter between a CitySquare staff member and a neighbor. 

Occasionally, I fail.  At times I fail miserably by injecting myself where I shouldn't.

Yesterday, I ended up in the between position completely unintentionally. As I approached my JEEP to leave the Opportunity Center with a partner from Paris, Texas, I found myself in the middle of a dispute.  One of our most competent team members had dealt with a gentleman who brings with him a reputation for anger and temper flairs. 

By the time I got into the mix and realized where I stood, the man seemed calm.  He even told me he understood our basic inability to solve every problem or to respond to every request. 

We have limits.

"I understand what they are saying," he told me.  "I just need to wash my clothes."

What happened next felt like a blow to the head.

As we talked, he repeated, "I just need soap to wash my clothes."

As he spoke, a over-sized tear rolled down his cheek.  Both of us were silenced by that tear. 

We found detergent, but I'll never forget this man's tear, one more reminder of how fundamental my lack of understanding remains after all these years.