He and his friend were parked at the curb. There was something about him, something familiar. As I walked by them our eyes met, I nodded and said hello. I stopped and he rolled down the window. How are you, I asked? Not good, came his reply.
He told me about his dialysis at a local hospital, how all their earthly belongings are now carried in his car which they keep running to stay warm. He pointed to the woman riding shotgun and told me how she was going to apply for unemployment and how they were checking Craig’s List for a place to live.
I asked whether the hospital’s social worker could help and he explained they offered assisted living, but she couldn’t be with him. After 30 years or more they were not willing to separate.
They were both Native American. I asked about their affiliations with a tribe or band. To far away he said…but they have friends locally who do what they can to help. In this case, friends who didn’t turn them in for parking near the business.
Love or comfort? He chose love.
Ours was a brief encounter on a lovely late summer afternoon in Northern Minnesota. I was in a hurry to get to work. As I left them I promised to send up a prayer for them.
Today, I am ashamed I didn’t do more than listen and pray. Ashamed that I didn’t get his name.