They are there, every morning, when I open up the store…the four of them. They are pushing garbage cans and gathering cleaning supplies. George, eagerly, greets me, “Hi, Vicky!” It took him two months to learn my name…and he still doesn’t ‘know’ it. “How long have you worked here, Vicky?” He asks me every morning. I answer to “Vicky,” and my answer only changes by a day or two, but he seems satisfied with the new knowledge each time I answer.
Elle is always done cleaning first. She looks so much like my grandma, I just want to hug her. Every morning, she brings me something…a broken product, an open piece of candy, merchandise that was out of place…and she always tells me, “Tell the police that I gave it to you!” I assure her that the police are very thankful for her diligence. She shares stories about the homeless cats she cares for, at her home, and promises me that she feeds them and won’t let them ever be afraid. She thrives on praise and her smile, when she is proud of herself, is beautiful.
Freddy enjoys sharing his plans for the day. One day he shared, “I’m going to the movies.” In his singsong voice, he continued, “I am going to see A-N-N-I-E.”
“You’re going to see ‘Annie?'” I asked.
“I am going to see A-N-N-I-E, ” he repeated, this time making the letters with his forefinger.
“That’ll be great fun!” I answered, realizing that he didn’t know that “A-N-N-I-E” spells “Annie.”
Many mornings, he will share, “I work tonight, right over there.” He points across the parking lot to Perkins. “You should come see me tonight.”
(Oh, I would love to go see him!! Maybe, one night, I will!!)
Finally, there is Jennifer. She is the head of ‘Good Health’ at her group home. She has lots of great tips. When the four of them were heading out to breakfast, one morning, she told me, “I told Freddy that he might consider a nice salad. That would be healthy.”
“Umm… Jennifer, I don’t think salad would be very yummy for breakfast.” I winked at her. “Maybe eggs? Would eggs be a healthy breakfast?”
“Eggs are healthy,” she said. “A great source of protein!” Freddy just turned up his nose. His heart was set on pancakes.
I only spend about 30 minutes with them, on days that I open the store, but they have found a place in my heart.
They have become a part of my “for such a time as this.”
…perhaps, I am there for such a time as this…
Esther 4:14b Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?