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Peace Brothers

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Peace Brothers

You never know who's listening.

This is a student working his way through collage.

A life's lesson for the heart.

I was at work today, pretty much a hard day. We had a heavy rush about 2:00 this afternoon. Lots of customers, with alot of complex or tedious jobs. One such individual was a rather portley old roughneck named Floyd P. Somethingorother. Floyd is past middle age and struggles with his hearing and maybe an arthritic knee or hip (the old guy limped, lets put it that way). Today he had a quiet demeanor and sad eyes. His copy job was huge. 3,000 copies- half of them color... like 1400 bucks. 
Anyway, as he was waiting, another man, Bruce Aspgren (one of my favorite customers) walked in to pick up an order he placed on-line.

Bruce runs a shelter and ministry in Caldwell and the surrounding areas for what he calls "last resort" folks. People, like he once was, that have needs ranging from a warm meal, clean clothes or a place to sleep, to refuge from abusive relationships or help getting off of drugs, call on Bruce and his staff to meet those deficiencies. His mission is written in the spirit, and upon meeting Bruce it is clear to anyone that his purpose is written deep upon his heart. Mr. Aspgren is always quick with a smile or wit or wisdom.
His copy job was late... an entirely separate issue , While Bruce and Floyd were waiting, it became very clear to everyone, or at least me, that Bruce knew why his order was delayed. In his polite and friendly way, he began talking up our man Floyd. 
He began with a joke about the wait... taking a shot at yours truly, and the frazzled condition of the copy center. But as they spoke he began to ask Floyd some all too often overlooked questions. Bruce begged at his spiritual state and Floyd opened up to him as I've never seen. It was like this man hadn't had anyone to care about him in a long time. It was beautiful. Floyd began to tell perhaps the saddest story I've ever heard. 
Just a few years ago Floyd was married. He didn't give her name and didn't hold back the fact that he still loves her despite their separation. Floyd's health put him on disability, and his family's inability to make ends meet eventually led to the demise of his marriage.

Floyd has a son that around that same time moved to Austin to try to attend college and free himself from his parents dramatic situation. While in Austin, his son began doing drugs. Bad ones. A lot. He was addicted to several different things, not the least of which was heroin. He dropped out of school, lost his job and in a matter of months was homeless. Floyd tried to track him down, and when he finally did they had a falling out as he urged him to move back home and try to get himself cleaned up. 
Around a year ago Floyd's son was robbed and murdered by other junkies having never reconciled with his father. Police have no leads. 
Shortly before his son's death Floyd was dating a woman who also remained nameless throughout the course of his telling. Knowing he and his wife would never get back together, Floyd did his best to move on with his life. 
Around two weeks after his son was killed, after a brief fight with Floyd about his family and financial situation, his new girlfriend committed suicide by hanging herself in his house. 
At this point in their conversation, Bruce knew I was eavesdropping, and spoke up so I could hear. 
"What is your heart saying?"   Floyd had no answer. 
"Its saying that its tired of hurting." Floyd stood there, wide eyed. 
"God is saying to you right now that the only cure for you is love. If you can't hear it, its because you've stopped listening. Those things that happened are for the Father and the Son to deal with and not yours anymore. Give it all to them."
Bruce didn't say much else, but his candor and forwardness were a shock to Floyd. Mr. Aspgren invited Floyd to his bible study and men's program and even offered to buy him dinner so they could talk more. He told Floyd that even when you don't believe, there are people who are strong enough to believe for you.
With that, he winked, shook Floyd's hand, my hand, and said, "Peace Brothers," walking away with his now complete copy job in hand and his usual smile on his face.
Floyd's face lit up. It was as though he'd never imagined all of these terrible things weren't his fault. A few simple words, and he was so relieved. I was amazed, and still am.  
It took nothing from Bruce to have this effect on another person. It was just a little love and the willingness to use it.
I guess that's what happens when you're in tune with the Spirit. When you let yourself be both the passenger and the driver. We're all better for Bruce and those like him in our community, and I guess we could all afford to take a few notes...  Jim

I am honored with this story and want to share it with others.


Last Updated on Sunday, 24 December 2017 14:08