Moravian Church in North America

In Essentials, Unity; In Nonessentials, Liberty; In All Things, Love.

Moravian Church in North America
North: Bethlehem, Pa.
South: Winston-Salem, N.C.

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Ponderings: A Conversation with Ed

072015ponderingsimageIt was a quiet morning in the waiting room of the local tire store. Except for the employees, an elderly man in a military baseball cap and I were the only ones in the room. I said hello to be polite but had fully expected to be reading e-mail, reviewing photos and checking Facebook during the hour it would take to install four new tires.

Instead, the old man struck up a conversation. He told me about his car and what repairs it was in for. He explained that his wife lived in a nursing home and didn’t want to get out of bed. He shared the frustration he and his daughter felt about his wife’s situation. He complained about nursing home costs. I listened with half an ear, made small talk, but kept thinking about the work I needed to get done.

But as he continued to talk, I grew more interested in the conversation. He was telling me his story, a story that deserved an ear. I closed my laptop and began to listen and ask questions.

He shared about his life as a younger man. He talked about his parents and how he lived in an orphanage until he was married. I thought it odd to have parents and be an orphan; he explained that his parents, a minister and a nurse, ran the orphanage.

He talked of serving in the Korean War; his upbringing in Emmaus and college life in Allentown; and how back then, men were expected to be far more polite to young women than they seem to be today.

As he continued to share his stories, I thought about my father and the stories he used to tell. I thought about the similarities between the two men—their age, their infirmed wives, their driving of older cars that they were proud to own.

While I wasn’t getting any of what I planned to work on finished, I didn’t feel I was wasting time. I was enjoying this conversation, listening to stories and interacting with someone with whom I’d never met and would likely never see again.

Before I knew it, my car was finished and it was time to go. I thanked my waiting room counterpart for this conversation, wished him well and drove off with a smile. I think on future waiting room visits, I’ll leave the screen at home and instead, seek out—and learn from—the stories of those around me. I invite you to do the same in your communities and congregations.

Peace,
Mike

 

From the July/August 2015 Moravian Magazine

Moravian Daily Texts

01/20/2018

Saturday, January 20 — Psalm 15
Genesis 23:1–24:25; Matthew 8:23–34

God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. Genesis 1:3

God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts. 2 Corinthians 4:6 (NIV)

Illuminate our minds, Lord Jesus, to recognize the needs of those around us. Open our hearts to share the burdens of our sisters and brothers as we hold one another in the light. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

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