Ordinary Moments, Everyday Conversations
The old porch rocker creaked with each rhythmic forward and backward motion. He stared straight ahead, politely saying “thank you” when I stopped by. Nothing less, nothing more.
I first met Theron McIntosh several years ago, when I began volunteering with the FaithWorks Wolfe Street food outreach project. I stopped by his house every Tuesday during my lunch hour, delivering canned goods to senior citizens on his street. Visits on Wolfe Street bring more than just food; they also bring caring conversations and nourish the soul just as much as the body. Ordinary moments. Everyday conversations.
Mr. Theron was not interested in conversating with me much at first. His family all lived several hours away, and he was a widower living alone. His house was the last on my “route,” and I made it my mission to win him over, to get him to talk with me. Nearing 80, Mr. Theron was probably not interested in making new friends or getting to know some obscure person. But he put up with my chatty ways and over passing weeks and months, began chatting back with me. Ordinary moments. Everyday conversations.
At some point, Mr. Theron and I settled into a comfortable Tuesday routine. I would spend around 30 minutes with him before I returned to work, sitting on his front porch, just talking. He rocked in his old chair, looking out at the world around him, and I perched on his front steps leaning back against the railing, looking up at him. And the storytelling would begin. We talked about everything and we talked about nothing at all. Ordinary moments. Everyday conversations.
For two months we spent a lot of time discussing cupcakes that were to celebrate his 80th birthday. What flavors we would select and why. Ordinary moments. We talked a lot about those cupcakes. Everyday conversations. The Tuesday before his birthday, I arrived with two bright pink cupcake boxes in hand, excited to celebrate his birthday with him. I jumped out of the car, and his neighbor said to me, “hey, your buddy down there died.” “What?” I exclaimed. “Which buddy?” “Mr. Theron,” he replied, “day before yesterday.” “But I have these cupcakes we are sharing for his birthday,” I uttered in an unusually high pitched voice. “He can’t be gone,” I squeaked, “we are celebrating his birthday today.”
But he was gone. I rushed to the funeral home and left a note for his family. I wanted them to know that someone visited with Mr. Theron every Tuesday, for them to feel comforted to know that folks were keeping up with him and had even planned a birthday celebration. I wanted them to know he was not alone.
Several nights later Mr. Theron’s son called and asked me to speak at his funeral. Me. Someone who only spent 30 minutes a week with him having everyday conversations. I felt honored. I felt unworthy. I felt I would be invading an intimate and personal time for his family. I said yes.
I struggled with what to say about a man that I barely knew. But then I realized what Mr. Theron had taught me, and I spoke about that. “THERE ARE NO ORIDNARY MOMENTS” was a quote that a friend had relayed to me several months before. How simple. How profound. So much like Mr. Theron. That was it.
And so, on Mr.Theron’s actual 80th birthday, I looked out at tear stained faces, and I spoke. I spoke about how my seemingly everyday conversations and ordinary moments with him were, actually, not so ordinary at all. They were, in fact, EXTRAORDINARY. Little seemingly inconsequential moments, when strung together were actually huge, meaningful, powerful and important. Those moments were real life. These moments where two people taking the time to get to know each other, to share stories together, to “be” in the moment together. These moments where lives slowed down, focusing on the here and now, while still remembering yesterday. Through these moments I learned about an extraordinary man who, by raising children, working hard and helping others, had lived an extraordinary life.
He may not have known it, but Mr. Theron taught me that truly, it’s all one big story, and there are no ordinary moments. And for that I will forever be grateful. ~Lea King Badyna
Welcome to FaithWorks!
FaithWorks provides multiple opportunities for providing local mission ministries to Glynn County, Georgia and the surrounding area. Celebrating that we are all God's children who have gifts, graces, and needs, we become a healthier community when we share these gifts, graces, and needs with one another. As we seek to love God and our neighbor, then doors are opened and pathways are created which promote health, wholeness, and peace.
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