I was at the gas station this morning, getting gas for my car and went inside to buy some snacks for work and a pack of smokes. As I was carrying my snacks up to the front counter, there was a man standing at the table, kind of leaning on it. He was blocking me from setting my items down, so the cashier kindly asked him if he could step aside. He did, and I placed my items on the counter. I could see he was struggling, scratching some scratch tickets, leaning on one crutch, and smelling of alcohol. As the cashier rang up my items, I also asked for a pack of Marlboro lights. She said they were out of lights, but had 100’s. I said I’ll just take a pack of Marlboro reds instead. As she turned around to grab the cigarettes, the man asked me, kind of jokingly, “hey do you want to buy me a pack too?” I said “sure, do you want a pack?” He said “I was just joking”, but I then told the cashier to get two packs of Marlboro reds. As she handed me the two packs of cigarettes, I slid one pack over to him and said “here ya go”. He kind of looked at me funny, slid the cigarettes into his pocket, and said “hey, what’s your name?” “Charlie”, I told him. He said “don’t I know you?” I said “nope, I don’t think so.” He said “thanks for the smokes, I really appreciate that.” I said “no problem”. I then paid for my items, said “have a good one Stan”, as the cashier mentioned his name, and walked out.
This whole time I was thinking about my Uncle Rob, who is kind of the black sheep in the family (as am I). My Uncle has struggled with alcoholism for many years, and I have always felt a little sorry and sad for him. I kind of always understood him, I guess, and would visit with him when I was in my early twenties if I would see him out at a bar. He is my moms brother, and they have a horrible relationship. He calls her up when he is drunk and he yells and cusses at her. It’s very unsettling for my mom.
As I was leaving the gas station, a song came on the radio that always moves me. It is called the Lion and the Lamb, by Big Daddy Weave. And at that moment, I felt God’s presence, lit up a cigarette, cranked the radio up, and drove away. It was a good morning.