For Conor

For Conor

A few days ago, I accompanied my wife to her favorite Christian charity, and there was a new face behind the service counter. 

“Where is Conor,” she asked the new attendant. “He’s not on duty?” 

Conor was the guy who normally met. An Irish man, he was always bubbly and made everyone feel welcome. He even learned to pronounce my wife’s name. 

“Boooola,” he would boom, and laugh aloud at himself.

“He’s gone,” was the reply.

“Gone, where?” 

“Gone back home, to Ireland.” 

“Oh no!” 

“Oh no!” the new guy echoed, mimicking our chorus, and then smiling. “Everybody that comes in here reacts the same way when I tell them he is gone.”

We then went on to explain to him how Conor was the reason we always popped into the place even when we had no intention of buying anything. He was like a human magnet with his enthusiasm and friendliness and was very trusting too. Whenever we didn’t have loose change to pay for stuff, he would wave us away.

“No worries, Booola. You bring it next time.” 

In a world where people don’t necessarily give you the benefit of the doubt based on your skin color; such affability was heart-warming. 

“Yes, I have heard about him from many people like you. Anyway, he completed his rehabilitation and went back home. Now, I pray he stays strong for the Lord.”

That was how we knew Conor was a drug addict posted to our locale as part of his rehabilitation process. It is true what they say about not knowing what people are passing through. Looking at the man, you wouldn’t have had the slightest clue of the demon he was battling. He still managed to brighten everyone’s day while struggling with substance abuse. Conor personified the possibility of making a positive impact on our surrounding regardless of personal flaws or challenges.

Today I remember Conor and pray that he remains strong enough to resist a relapse wherever he is, not only for himself but for the world in general. To err is human, but to have enough light to shine on others while wallowing in your own darkness is godlike.

The world needs more Conors.

“…Just because someone stumbles and loses their way doesn’t mean they’re lost forever…” Professor Charles Xavier, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. 

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