A lady came into Joe’s this morning with a look on her face that said she was there for something more than coffee. I asked her if I could help her with anything. She blurted out, “Are you giving out Thanksgiving turkeys here?” I told her that we had the big Thanksgiving Community Dinner last Saturday, but that I didn’t have any turkeys to give away today. Tears came to her eyes. I asked her what was wrong.
She told me she had just been on the phone with a friend who was weeping about not having anything to give her children for Thanksgiving dinner. She is a single mother with three children and no money to buy a turkey. This woman said that as she was driving, the thought came to her to come into Joe’s and ask if we had a turkey we could give to her friend.
I told her I would make some calls and see what I could do. Surely we could come up with a turkey! I took her phone number and told her I would call her soon. She thanked me, again with tears in her eyes.
After she left, I made a call to one of our leaders to ask him about a rumor that I had heard about a local lady who wanted to donate turkeys for the dinner last weekend. I wasn’t sure if she had followed through and perhaps those turkeys were still available. He was at work and told me he would check on it in the evening and get back to me.
The morning at Joe’s continued as usual. Folks coming in and out for coffee, hanging out having conversations, checking in with the folks who run the Free Store, giving out job assignments to homeless guys who work for food.
About two hours later, a well-dressed woman came in with a large box in her hands. I jumped to the counter to take her coffee order, when she asked, “Does anyone here need a frozen turkey?”
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” I said, and I told her the story of the woman who had come in just two hours before. She told me that she had been delivering turkeys for her boss who owns an oil company down the street. She had given them all out—except this one—and as she was driving past she just had this thought, “There’s someone in there who needs a turkey.” “God provides,” she said, as she waved and headed out the door.
I looked at David, an alcoholic, vietnam vet who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, and who spends part of every day at Joe’s, and his mouth was hanging open. He said, “That’s like ‘deja vu’ or something . . .” I explained, “No, David. That’s God!” He responded, “It’s like God is just walking around here listening to our conversations!” And isn’t that exactly what it’s like? “Emmanuel—God With Us.”