October 6, 2010

Blessings of a Man

A few months ago I met a man. He appeared in my office door wearing a brown short sleeve T-shirt tucked into his jeans, a brown belt, and mud stained work boots. He was clean-shaven and wore glasses. His eyes were light brown, almost mirroring his shirt.

He took a few steps into my office and I offered him a seat. He shook his head no instead choosing to stand with his right hand holding the back of the chair.

His left hand twitched a little as he starting talking to me. In the course of his dialog, I watched his left hand clench and release, clench and release, over and over. His right hand remained placed on the back of the chair, almost as though he needed the support.

I sat in silence as he story progressed from mildly upset to angry to angrier to hatred for the world. And then with his left hand he reached up and took his glasses off. Almost simultaneously his right hand reached up and he covered his eyes.

The silence in the room was deafening.

I watched as his mud stained work boots moved towards me and when he sat down in the chair I breathed. His shoulders sank as he rested his hands in his lap, left hand still clutching his glasses, and he looked at me as he began weeping.

"I am sorry," was all I could muster up to say. I could find no words that seemed sufficient and was too paralyzed to embrace him.

He looked defeated.

Over the last several months he became a regular visitor of mine, in the beginning he would come in to yell (and always later coming in to apologize), then he started stopping in just to say hello, and then he would come in and share his dreams with me.

I learned in the past few weeks that he is planning to leave. In the midst of all the bad it turns out that he actually had some good things happening to him. It took several years and lots of paperwork, but he is now able to be self sufficient and begin the adventure of working towards his dreams.

He stopped by on Monday to tell me he is leaving this week and wanted to show me the car he had bought. I watched as his eyes danced with excitement as he shared with me his story of purchasing his car. His joy was contagious.

After oohing and aahing over his car, he looked at me with his light brown eyes and said, "I wanted to make sure that I came to see you one last time. You have no idea how much you helped me. You are a blessing and I want you to know that."

For a moment we stood there staring at each other, comfortable in the silence, and our first conversation flashed through my mind. He hugged me goodbye and left. I watched him out of my office window as he crossed the street and got into his car.

And my eyes filled with tears and my heart was happy and I shouted to him, "No you are the blessing."

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