In “On My Worst Day” I write pieces from my memory, and imagine what Jesus might say in the middle of my experiences. Here is one such snapshot.
Mr. Yukech passed away from kidney failure this year. He lived across the street, on Altura Way. For some reason, he took a kind interest in me. If he saw me playing out front, he’d usually walk over. We’d sit for hours on our front stoop. Who does that? A sixty-some-year-old and a kid spending unhurried chunks of time together. I felt known with him, even not talking at all. I think, all along, he was trying to convince me I was worth his time. Like that single gift would help me.
He had no idea how much it would.
He talked to me about life, about nearly everything. He was wise. I listened to him, because even then I could tell he wasn’t giving adult slogans. He listened to me, like what I was saying was important. He was real. Most adults saw me as a disrespectful, spoiled punk. So did Mr. Yukech. But he was able to see over it all. He gave me my first baseball glove. He restrung one from his garage and rubbed saddle soap into every crevice. I’d give up a lot to have that glove today.
During my entire childhood, he was the only adult I visited in a hospital. I made my parents drive me there. When he ultimately passed away from kidney failure, it was the first time I’d experienced deep loss.
When I eventually did start to risk trusting others, it was largely because I’d once known someone trustworthy. I would waste far too much of my life in foolishness, without wisdom, fighting this truth:
Awakening: Anyone can get knowledge and information; but nobody gets wisdom, insight, and discernment without trusting.
Ever since Mr. Yukech, I was looking hard for such a place.
“…John, I will make sure Bill Yukech sees this piece.”