When I heard his voice at the other end say hello, I smiled. My heart sped up. I felt so happy to reconnect. “Maurice?” I said hoping it was really him. “Yes… who is this?” he responded hesitantly. “Maurice, it’s Jen. Jen Croneberger.” I could hear a second of silence, then a sound of joy/emotion/pure love come through the phone. “JEN, Oh my goodness. Is it really you? I can’t believe it’s you.”
I couldn’t stop smiling the entire 14 minute conversation on my ride home from from West Chester this afternoon. I found him. My long lost friend that I had not been able to locate a phone number for for over a year and a half. Our connection, so strong and pure that we talked like we had just talked yesterday.
Maurice is like family to me. He and his wife lost their daughter to a stray bullet aimed for someone else 7 years ago. I sat in the Wilmington courtroom every day during the murder trial as the court saw an innocent family lose an innocent daughter, the mother of two innocent young boys. Maurice and Narda would now have to raise them. They lived in a tough neighborhood, struggling to get by. Life had not been easy to them, they lived paycheck to paycheck for most of their existence. Maurice was battling health issues and couldn’t work much. They did without what a lot of people would think are non-negotiables. There wasn’t a time during these past 12 years that I doubted Maurice’s faith. Our conversations were often about how good God is. Never doubting, never questioning. With very little of what most people would see as necessities for a good life, Maurice and Narda’s cup was, is and always will be full. They don’t want for much. In all the years I have known Maurice, I have to say that he is probably the most positive, full of hope and faith human being that I have known. The only thing he always talked about was being able to one day buy his family a house.
It was maybe a minute into our conversation today, when he told me he was calling all the numbers he had for me but couldn’t find me. He could not wait to share the news. He and Narda had bought that house he had been talking about forever this past year. They moved into a nicer, safer neighborhood for the boys, and he told me, as always, how blessed he is and how good God is. I couldn’t stop smiling. He told me he wanted me there for the housewarming party but couldn’t find me. He told me I would be so proud of them. I smiled ear to ear. I WAS proud. Maurice and Narda are like family to me. The one dream they have had for 30 years has come true, I couldn’t help but cry as I sat at the red light at Bondsville Road by the Turkey Hill. I am so happy for them.
We promised I would come see the new house over Christmas, and I could see how big the boys are getting. I miss them too. He told me that they still play the game I got them for Christmas a few years ago. But now, it’s different. Now, they can sit together around a table and eat dinner and play games as a family. They never had a dining room table they could sit around before. He made sure he mentioned that to me. That is what he is most thankful for. A table to be able to sit around all at once.
I hung up, remembering my love for this man and his family. Feeling it stronger than ever. Knowing how much he contributes to the world by just being him.
Then I started to think about what it says in the Tao. “When your cup is full, stop pouring.”
We so often want more than we currently have. We make lists of all the things we don’t have that we feel we need in order to live the life we want. We buy more clothes than we can wear at any given time. We fill our closets until they are spitting things out. We have an excess of… stuff. We buy bigger houses, fancier cars, we think it means something. We want more. Always searching for more. Thinking these things will fulfill us.
But do they? Does another pair of shoes make us feel better about ourselves? When we think about it, we can only wear one at a time. The others just sit there. And of course, there are those who have none. We keep pouring. And our cup overflows.
We waste. We mop it up. And we pour some more.
Maybe we should just stop. All of us. I am just as guilty. Overstuffed closets, more books than I could ever take time to read again. When really, what I want my cup to be full with is the feeling I had during those 14 minutes on the phone today. Of a faith and a love so strong that it lasted all day. Of a reminder that life really is good, regardless of the things we go through. That love is enough. We don’t need much more.
And what a more perfect day than today, December 1st, to spend some time with this on our hearts. Today is World Aids day. A day that we remember those who have gone before us, those who suffer silently and not so silently with this fateful disease that we still battle on this earth. Today also happens to be “Pay it Forward Day” in the social networking world. Today, we take a moment to maybe think about those around us in ways we have maybe neglected. We give back by giving forward. We do something random for a stranger, even a smile that maybe brightens their day. We give. Whatever it is. Today also begins seven days of the “Love is Louder” project which reminds us that love is louder than any negative that anyone could say or do to bring us down. We rally together for these next 7 days to remember those who maybe feel like they don’t fit in, or they are bullied, made fun of or made to feel small. We give. Whatever it is. December 1st is a great day to begin a new journey then it seems. To give back, to say thank you, to stand up for those who are scared or silent, to stand by those who are affected by AIDS and HIV, to hold the door for someone, to pay it forward. To stop pouring in our own cups that are overflowing, and turn and fill someone else’s. What a great day to be on this earth.
My cup is very full. I am ready to share. Are you?
Yes sir, my brother Maurice. God is good.