A Deep Conversation With Willy

When we travel to cook I know something.  I know I will go reluctantly.  I know I will arrive nervous.  I know I will then leave joyous having witnessed a greater something than me, even than us.  And I know I will leave having had at least one conversation I was supposed to have.

Willy was the conversation I was supposed to have.  Born in Puerto Rico, living in Reading at a homeless shelter, Willy founds shoes, donated shoes, part of the clothing drive the congregation put together.  Conversation started around shoes.  “Worth a $100.00″ he said.  Might be right.  A prayer of thanks for the person who gave them.

And then we talked.  A long conversation.  Part way through, with a smile, Willy leans in with “Chuck you are going to be alright.”   Out of the blue.  Striking the core of incessant, chattering worries.  Did I say anything that helped him?  That connected?  Probably not.  But God had us there.  In that place.  Front Street in Reading.  63 year old Puerto Rican cook.  49 years old Irish pastor.   “Not as many … but as one.” (Divine Love and Wisdom, 22)

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