Hope Town of Perdition: Death of a Convenience Store Clerk
As you may remember TK owns a convenience store in a lonely isolated town. The town is made of the poor and is saturated in drugs.
I’ve helped TK a few nights. The first night I worked 11 hours. I helped in maintenance, cleaning and running the store. He gave me a hamburger and pop. When we were done he sent me out the door with a select beer. He wanted to bless me.
Over the two years I’ve known him we have talked a lot. Actually, he has done all the talking. I would stop late at night on the way home where I had lived, a half-hour more desolate than his purgatory. I’ve spent about ten hours of listening and about ten minutes of talking. I empathize, appreciate his circumstances, and encourage him. He has a real mess and is choked by his life. He has spoken of suicide.
The first night about 2:30 in the morning before closing we spoke more. He ranted and morosed for another half hour. He complained of needing a wife to help him with the business. The 18 year old young ladies that come through are tempting to him. They want to use him and yeah he them. But he really wants a good wife not a gal involved with drugs and the underworld.
Half joking he always asks me why I haven’t brought him a lady friend. Normally I laugh and do not answer the question. I finally broke “Listen, I can’t bring you a Christian lady. They won’t be interested in you and the ones we are helping get off drugs along with other issues aren’t ready for marriage.” “You need to go to the local church and start there!”
“If you care about your life here and the life to come, you need to go!” I noted. It was a matter of fact, no sales! It is his baby!
He replied “I want to go to church with you.” “You can’t. You work Sundays!” I reminded him. But he was adamant. I have never spoken to him of church or Christ previously.
I went out to help him again. This time I brought a Christian brother. We worked 5 hours. I spent the time pressure washing the gas station area in the dim light from the store. I plugged in my head phones laboring alone while my friend worked in the beer and pop case stocking.
I met a guy who wanted to know how much I charged for pressure washing. “I’m just helping a friend” I retorted. “But I think it is about $30/hour.” “You need to cover your time, equipment, and gas.” “But I can call my friend who does this and confirm it.” I offered. He smiled. Someone cared! I called him a few days later. It was actually $35/hour.
I’ll see him again.
When we were done that evening TK again invited himself to church.
I want him to know Jesus but it is compassion for him that drives us.
He needs real people, help and honest concern for him. No one loves him and no one cares.
For Christ’s sake! We may be his only chance of experiencing the love of Jesus and “yes” hopefully he’ll join us in our effort with Jesus-to love the world sacrificially.