By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

The local Deli was unusually quiet…translating into a good conversation day.
I waited for my friend, preoccupied with thoughts of upcoming conversation and craving a strong cup of coffee.
The sun was shining brightly, a little too brightly;
shades needed to be turned.
That’s what prompted my initial gaze toward the window seat.
That’s when I saw “him.”
The “him” was an elderly looking farmer-type, maybe in his 80’s; wore an old blue flannel shirt over slumped shoulders and faded, well-worn jeans;
gray hair, an unkept beard, large frame.
One of those people you almost miss unless you’re really looking.
Something about him made my eyes linger long;
a “loneliness and unspeakable sadness” seemed to engulf him.
Watched him scan the parking lot and then drift back to the coffee cup in front of him.
And all of a sudden…he mattered to me.
Moved by a perfect stranger, I no longer cared about the too-bright sun or my friend's arrival.
This stranger had become my new preoccupation.
Perhaps he felt my stare; he looked up,
our eyes locked for a second.
Eyes so telling; eyes so sad and empty.
Compelled by a prompting within,
I reached into my purse and retrieved a little 2x3 inch scripture card;
words reflecting hope … no matter how hopeless things seem.
Don’t remember the specific reference, just chose one that I thought would elevate his thoughts.
I walked over to him.
“Sir, are you doing okay?”
I’ve asked others before, his words were disarming and more honest.
“I’m tired; just so very tired,” he said quietly.
Put his head down a little and followed the rim of his coffee cup with his index finger.
I put my hand on his.
For a moment we were quiet.
Something passed between us;
some form of empathetic camaraderie. 
Asked him if I could help in some way.
“You’ve done enough; thanks for stopping …. thanks for asking,” he said.
Gentle voice; soft-spoken.
Gave him the scripture card and told him God loved him and had a plan for him;
 maybe I was a piece of reminding him that day.
He looked like he might say something … and then decided against it.
Gave me a tired smile.
And then … in walked my late friend.
The gentleman nodded at me; I went and took my place.
No longer preoccupied with my friend or our conversation I continued to watch the one I’d held hands with.
Watched him read the card, touch the edges gently and then …. I saw him take out his wallet, read the card once more and place the scripture in it.
Picked up his coffee cup, took his last sip,
got up, gave me a silent nod.
Walked out.
I don’t remember much about the day’s conversation with my dear friend.
But I remember the hand I held for just a moment and the thing that passed between us.
I remember the man.
This “piece” isn’t written to decorate my small attempt to care about an individual I perceived to be hurting.
It’s about how thankful I am that he was in my life and that I was in his.
Perfect strangers,
hands touching,
lives briefly intersecting,
a 2x3 inch card with words of hope conveyed,
and someone just being honest about life.
Today’s writing is penned by an individual who utters the simple words of a simple stranger:
“I’m tired; just so very tired.”
The God who nudged me has the power to nudge another and in this way....
a perfect stranger (in some form) will enter my world, a new hand will touch my own,
lives will intersect and God will give grace … just as it is needed.
"Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28