Sojourner began the walk back to his home as the morning breeze began to give way to the summer sun. He thought about the man he met that morning and how difficult it must be for him in this heat. As the walked with a slight limp, he began to thank God for the freedom and ability to move and walk. As he entered his front door, Sojourner headed straight for the kitchen to get a glass of water. He sat down to get some relief from the pain he felt in his right leg and sighed a sigh of relief. “Thank you, Lord, for this refreshing water and a comfortable place to sit.” Sojourner removed his newsie cap and placed it on the armrest of his chair. The morning conversation was still fresh in his mind. He played back pieces of the conversation in the quietness of his small living room. The final words spoke by the man he met really stuck. “I don’t get to have many conversations with people. They usually turn the other way to avoid eye contact.” Sojourner felt the sting of these words. He had experienced them. People do not like to feel uncomfortable. Often, we do not know how to respond to certain situations and so we pretend we do not see them. Whether it be seeing a panhandler and turning our head or quickly changing the subject when a difficult topic comes up, we ignore it as a defense mechanism. But ignoring a situation has never brought about change. As the afternoon gave way to evening, Sojourner allowed his mind to wander. He recalled how his grandfather would have so many stories of life on the railroad. It was a different time then and the life of a railroad was not easy. He was gone more than he was home and worked long hours. He left his young son (Sojourner’s father) to take care of the family farm. When grandfather was able to come home, he always had a great story to tell. Sojourner loved to hear the stories. Grandfather loved to share the stories, but Sojourner’s father would quickly say, “I’m going to turn in, somebody has to be responsible and work this farm.” Those words were intended to hurt grandfather because he knew he put a lot on his son at an early age.
Sojourner, took out the pocket watch which once belonged to grandfather and looked at the time. It was getting late, and he was getting tired. He pulled the watch close to his heart before placing it on the nightstand. Sojourner thought about the man he met earlier in the day. Where did he go during the day? Did he have a safe place to sleep tonight? What was his name? They had spent time together over that cup of coffee at breakfast time and never even told each other their names. He said a quiet prayer asking God to keep them both safe and allow them to continue their conversation in the future. All was quiet in Sojourner’s home. Only the sound of the fan could be heard as he drifted off into a peaceful sleep.