Written by: Maggie Dannenmueller
Hello friends! It’s been a while since I wrote my last espresso, much has stayed the same, but much has changed. I’m still working behind the counter at the cafe and loving on as many people as I can. Which isn’t always easy. I’ll be the first to admit that I get so frustrated and bent out of shape, but it’s because I love so hard. I genuinely love and want the best for all of my cafe friends. A few weeks ago one of our regular cafe friends came to the door at 6:30 am before I even opened. All he had on was just a hospital gown and a pair of hospital socks. The gown wasn’t even tied in the back, and he had Nothing on underneath. No shoes. He is standing at the front door. I let him in early before I opened the cafe because it was cold outside and he was basically naked.
Now I’m getting annoyed. I’m not open yet. I have other stuff I have to do that’s more important than taking care of this grown man. This grown man who could get help if he wanted it. But I guess he doesn’t. And this frustrates me everyday. I’ve made it out of the trenches of addiction, I know the way, and I can help! But you have to want the help. And not everybody wants it. I didn’t want the help myself for a long time. So as I’m working I start asking if he was in the hospital, and if he is okay. He says he just got out of the hospital and he had nothing to wear and nobody to help him and he didn’t know where else to go so he came here.
HE DIDN'T KNOW WHERE ELSE TO GO SO HE CAME HERE! He KNOWS! Just like so many of our other friends know. We are for them. I start to think about when I was in addiction. I didn’t have anyone or anything. All I had was the clothes on my back and the gift of desperation to want to get clean. I didn’t have a place like this to go to. He came here for help, because he knew he could, and he knew we would help. I poured him a cup of coffee and I went downstairs and found an old pair of donated jeans, a shirt and a sweater, a coat and an old pair of boots. I hand him the pile of clothes and his face lights up.
Instead of going to the bathroom to change he just undressed right in the cafe. But this is who we are. This is what we do. This is who we are for. These are the people that are generally counted out, forgotten, not included, the “extras” in the scene. But more than that these are our friends, our cafe family, our neighbors, our brothers and sisters. They have value and they have dignity just like me and you. This cafe friend helped me more than I helped him that day. And he doesn’t even know it. I’m reminded of how blessed I am, reminded How grateful I am. Reminded how i need to remain grateful even when I don’t feel it all the way. A little bit of love goes a long way. And that’s all any of us really need.
Uncommon Grounds Cafe